Okay- note that I said this "might help". Not solve, help. So try not to jump all over me....
I was doing some speed tests at work today because I noticed that I get much better speeds at my work than I do near my house (my work is near a major highway- I'm willing to bet there is a tower nearby). Anyways, I usually carry my phone bare (no case/bumper) in a holtser while at work or out and about and sometimes I slip it into a silicon bumper when I know I'll be using it a lot and/or setting it down on a table, etc.
FYI, for whatever reason, the upload speeds out by my work are somewhat impressive- often beating my download speeds. Not sure why, can't really explain it.
Anyways, the first test I did today I had it very loosely in my hand with my palm bridging the lower right antenna gap and one of two fingers bridging the lower left antenna gap with the other finger touching the long antenna running up the left side. I got a got a terrible ping (950ms) and pretty aweful download speeds (174kbps) and decent upload speeds (335kbps). On previous days, I've managed to get about 318kbps down and as much as 378kbps up.
So then I got thinking more about the antennas- sure, Apple redesigned them due to the "Antennagate" fiasco and even re-wrote the iOS software to "intelligently switch" between the 4 antenna sections to improve signal. But what if touching the antennas, even as lightly as I was, was causing issues.
So I set the phone down on my plastic coffee mug and re-ran the test. The results? 819kbps down and 496kbps up! I then grabbed my silicon case and sliped it on, help the phone in my hand, and re-ran the test: 908kbps down and 274kbps up! Ran it again with the bumper case on and sat it on top of my coffee mug again: 777kbps down and 261kbps up. Then, for fun, I held the iPhone only by the rear glass (making no contact with the outer metal ring) and got 390kbps down and 415kbps up). Pings for all these tests ran close to 300ms
So, in conclusion- if you are using your phone bare, try a case to see if it improves speed (or at the very least, set it down or hold it by the glass when doing data intensive stuff). As I said before THIS MAY HELP, BUT NOT SOLVE your speed issues (if you are having any). In any case, I'd say if Sprint was throttling the iPhone, then they aren't doing it "blanketed" across their network.
Background: I am an IT professional of over 5 years with moderate to advanced experience in wireless networks, computers, mobile devices, etc. So rest assured that I have a firm grasp on the technical aspects of cellular devices and networks. If you have any questions, please feel free to reply to the this thread.
Good advice, worthy of trying. However, no luck for me. If I have the 4S in my hand bare, in a case, or if I put it outside near a tower and walk away from it the results are the same; crappy 3G service.
I was trying to look at movie times last night. SIRI locked up the phone for about 15 minutes, no activity on the microphone, none of the buttons would work. My guess is due to it waiting for 3G to respond. It took a total of 30 minutes for me from start to finish to get to movie times on 3G through the 4S using MovieFone.
Yeah- it doesn't help much when the service is crappy to begin with. I've got a few places around town that are like that where I live- the phone gets hot and tends to lock up as well.
THIS WORKED BELIEVE IT OR NOT THIS FREAKING WORKED... I WAS GETTIN CONSISTENT SLOW 3G SPPEDS LARGLEY IN PART BECAUSE I LIVE IN THE BOONIES AND I WAS GETTIN 0.16 Dn AND .06 UP BUT THEN I DID EXACTLH WHAT HOU SAID AND I OUT ON MY IPHONE COVER AND LAID IT DOWN AS WELL AND GOT CONSISTENT SPEEDS OF 1.16 MB DN AND 0.86 UP UNBELIEVALE. 3G IS REALLY NEVER A BIG CONCERN TO ME DUE TO THE FACT OF ME CARRYING MY 4G HOTSPOT ALL THE TIME WITH ME BECAUSE OF MY IPAD2 AND NOW BECAUSE OF MY IPHONE 4S AND IM ALWAYS GETTING INCREDIBLE SPEEDS ANY WAY AND I ALSO HAVE MY WIFI AT HOME SO IM REALLY GOOD BUT IT IS NICE TO KNOW THATNIF FOR SOME REASON I DON'T HAVE MY 4G HOTSPOT WITH ME AND IF IM OT HOME THAT I CAN STILL GET GREAT SPEEDS ON SPRINTS NETWORK WHICH I LOVE ANYWAY. I HAVE TRIED AT&T BUT DOES NOT WORK FOR ME I ALWAYS HAD DROPPD CALLS AND COULD NEVER TALK IN MY HOUSE WITH IT AS WELL..GO SPRINT!
If you are referring to Churchboi305's post, it looks like he's referring to a Sprint 4G hotspot device that he uses to provide a WiFi internet connection to his iPad 2 and his iPhone 4S (especially since he was getting terrible speeds with the 4S).
But I gotta agree- there were/are too many people out there that think the iPhone (espcially the 4 and 4S) are 4G devices. In their defense, Apple did name it's 2nd generation iPhone the 3G because it was capable of accessing that network- there never was an iPhone 2. Yet Apple then continued to sequentially number the subsequent devices. So even though the iPhone 4 and 4S don't have a "G" in the model #, an un-informed person would put "iPhone 4/4S" together with "my carrier has a '4G' network that they keep touting and every other Andriod device out there runs on 4G", and conclude that "the iPhone 4/4S must be a 4G device".
Reminds me of about a year and a half ago when two teenagers were in a Sprint store at the same time I was. Thery were sitting next to me waiting and the one was saying to the other "Man! I'm gonna get a 4G phone- that's 4G dude! It's way faster than 3G- I'll be going crazy fast". Little did he know that there is no 4G service in our entire state (and there still isn't) let alone our area- in fact, there is only 4G in one or two cites in all the surrounding states! It's sad.....
4G with a phone that could access it would be great, but as long as the 3G coverage is good, it's fast enough for just about everything I do (including Netflix streaming).