AT&T is trying to convince Apple to add a 4G indicator to the handset's status bar, because it has offered HSPA+ technology on its network and the others have not yet.
According to a leaked internal memo from the Verge, AT&T has requested Apple to show 4G near the signal indicator when the phone is on the HSPA+ network.
Previously in the Let's talk iPhone media event held on October 4, Apple claimed that the new iPhone 4S would be capable of delivering 4G-like speeds because of its compatibility with HSPA+ technology.
However, the question is that if 4G-like speeds makes the iPhone 4S a 4G phone. It seems that this is big question to the industry, especially to the carriers since endless customers care about whether they get the so-called the fourth generation phone, after paying a notable bill.
However, Apple itself seems to be not willing to join the debate. When Phil Schiller unveiled the all-new iPhone 4S he merely mentioned that the new wireless system allows download speeds to be twice faster than the iPhone 4. Comparing the speeds with other smartphones that deliver the same speed and even put 4G in their names, he simply leave the choice to the hands of the customers.
This will happen with an iOS release from Apple. Since iPhone 4S is an HSDPA device, our customers will get 4G speeds from day one. Only AT&T has this unique network advantage, the memo in the Verge emphasizes.
Obviously, AT&T is attempting to differentiate itself from its rivals, Verizon and Sprint, who are carriers of iPhone 4S, according to anandTech.
HSPA+ network is technically not 4G. As for AT&T, advertising itself as the only network that offers 4G speeds on iPhone, it actually wants to distinguish their iPhone in the minds of customers.
Meanwhile, even as AT&T is trying to label its version of the iPhone 4S as 4G, it is also moving ahead with the launch of a real 4G network that uses LTE technology. So far AT&T's 4G LTE network is available in a total of five cities in U.S. It plans to release its first LTE phone by the end of this year and aims at a good market share.
Currently, Verizon possesses an LTE network that spans more than half the country making the company the 4G network leader. Meanwhile, another competitor of AT&T, Sprint, has just announced plans to launch LTE next year.
AT&T has made clear its strategy to positioning itself as owning the fastest iPhone through its effort of 4G branding. But it also may risk confusing customers as it will launch true 4G smartphones soon.