The Smartphone Champ

AT&T Throttling Their Smartphone Customers to Deal With Spectrum Shortage

Top telecommunication company found to throttle their smartphone customers in an attempt to deal with its spectrum shortage problems.


New York, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/06/2012 -- Since 2011, AT&T has been very forthcoming about their shortage on wireless spectrum. According to AT&T representatives, the company has made several measures to deal with the problem, including modifying their data plan offers and upgrading their cell-tower equipment in areas experiencing greater network congestion problems. Recently, however, The Smartphone Champ has discovered that the well-known mobile telecommunications company has chosen throttling their customers’ data services as the latest solution to their spectrum shortage problem.

The Smartphone Champ discovered the problem when they observed how data speeds on an AT&T sim card slowed down by a huge margin during calls. The team behind The Smartphone Champ conducted a series of tests to identify the source of the problem. “We wanted to know if it was being done on the device level or on the network level,” Hashim Fannin of The Smartphone Champ explained. In other words, the website team did not particularly set out to expose AT&T’s new data speed management scheme.

Fannin explained the process that led them to this discovery. He explained, “We used an international GSM unlocked Samsung Galaxy Nexus. When we put a T-Mobile sim card in the phone we got pretty good data speeds at 5.5Mbps download and 2.8Mbps upload when not on a call. When on a call, we pulled 4.7Mbps download and 1.7Mbps upload. When we tried the same thing with an AT&T sim card in the same phone and in the same location, the in-call throttling was quite ostensible.” When not on a call, the AT&T test gave the following results: 4.5Mbps and 1.1Mbps. However, on a call, the figures plunged to 1.0Mbps download and a .024Mbps or 24k upload.

To confirm these results, Fannin said that they “repeated this same test in several different high-signal locations” and that they got the same results in every test. They also began conducting the same test using different AT&T devices to see if the throttling was only limited to certain devices. The devices they used include the Samsung Galaxy Note, the Motorola Atrix series, the Apple iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, the Samsung Galaxy S2, and the Samsung Galaxy S2 SkyRocket, among others. They also tried the test with different sim cards for different AT&T accounts. “We still always wound up with the same results: in-call throttling.”

Fannin concluded, “We found the device you use does not matter since the throttling is being done at the network level.”

Data speeds normally decrease when the user is on a phone call, as can be seen in the test using a T-Mobile sim card. However, what makes this problem a major blow to AT&T is that 24k of data speed is virtually unusable. “To put it in perspective, dial-up Internet has a 56k connection,” Fannin compared.

What this really means to AT&T subscribers is that while on a call, they will not be able to enjoy or even use their data network connection.

If a subscriber is trying to download an app while on a call or surfing the web, they will be faced with extremely low speeds. Worst of all, uploading a photo to a social network website will be impossible if the user is on a call.

Thus, AT&T may owe their smartphone subscribers some explanation.

About The Smartphone Champ
The Smartphone Champ is a trusted website that provides up-to-date information on smartphones. The website has recorded their series of tests on AT&T’s in-call throttling on video. More details on this matter can be found at For more information, you may contact Hashim Fannin at 404-923-0007 or thru e-mail at