Carriers could force 3G/LTE iPhones and iPads to use Wi-Fi to conserve spectrum

“The wireless spectrum crunch is forcing most mobile carriers to consider options to address a future in which there simply isn’t enough frequency available to easily meet the ever-growing demand for 3G and LTE connections,” Ryan Faas reports for Cult of Mac. “One idea that has been floated is developing systems that can offload mobile data onto Wi-Fi networks.”

“That idea isn’t new. In fact most iPhone and 3G/LTE iPad users tend to offload data service to home or public Wi-Fi networks,” Faas reports. “Doing so has clear advantages to consumers in that it helps avoid any overage fees and it can provide a faster connection in some circumstances.”

Faas reports, “Dealing with limited spectrum resources, however, carriers have been forced to consider ways of offloading data themselves rather than waiting and hoping that users to take action on their own.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]


            1. Nope, AT&T (followed t-mobile BTW) in calling HSPA+ 4G (which reaches 21mb/s) HSPA (which was available on the iPhone 4) is still regarded as 3G

              HSPA = 7mb/s, HSPA+ =21mb/s (both are theoretical max’s, your millage may vary)

        1. My 4S switches automatically, not sure what’s going on with yours. Carrier-specific setting maybe?

          I sometimes stream music on my way home, and there’s a clear break in the audio stream when it finds my home wifi and switches to it. The screen’s locked and off the entire time. When I do turn the screen on (but still locked) it shows the wifi symbol.

          1. Pull your iphone out and look at the screen when it’s blank. Hit the home button and you’ll see the 3g for an instant before switching to wifi.

            I have to turn data off because of all the mysterious data charges that occur at night when I’m on wifi.

            1. I see that, and it is a bit odd, but my router definitely saw my iPhone the entire time. iTunes also found it immediately upon launch.

              I’ve reset my cell data stats and will see what it says in the morning.

  1. So AT&T, etc. have a Limited Spectrum Disorder, and want to take it out on us.

    Is this a genetic condition or is it do to some environmental impact?

    Oh, I think I got it. It’s punishment because AT&T and T-Mobile couldn’t merge.

    1. No, it’s cause they have a great racket. Since there is no competition, no free market, they have no incentive to expand bandwidth. This is the same for land internet service providers. They just keep piling on more and more clients paying upwards of $100 a month, whether they use the network or not. They blame us, say we’re being bandwidth hogs, so they need to charge more, apply caps, and their only innovative efforts are being put into new ways to screw the user. Hence they continue to increase profits while spending as little as possible expanding and modernizing their networks.

      1. As long a they don’t charge off cell minutes while using our own or others networks and not theirs. They have no right to charge for something they aren’t providing like AT&T does with their WiFi Microcell.

  2. iOS has a lot of trouble switching between networks. For example, dropping calls when going from 3G to edge, browsing Internet on wifi then going out of range in the middle of a page load, or when connected to a weak wifi signal.

  3. Could the carriers not work with land line Internet service providers to get new wireless router out to the public that have 2 radios and sets of service 1 for the consumer who purchased the bandwidth, and a second that would be available to these Phone \ Internet devices that would not count on the main customers usage and maybe even have Micro cells built in. That way the home user also get the benefit of stronger cell reception when home. For this to be accepted the customer who’s home the device is installed in would have to get priority in the traffic stream.

  4. This “solution” won’t work over the long haul. Land line-based ISP’s are either using data caps, or like Comcast/Infinity, new “traffic shaping” technology to throttle Internet speeds on their own oversold networks.

  5. I’ve been sayin’ for years, Apple, AT&T, etc made an epic managerial blunder of nuclear proportions by not implementing a UMA/GAN-type of dual WiFi system from the get-go; Apple should have seen it coming, and forced the carriers to implement. We’d be living in a dramatically different world today if they had, instead of ever-increasing demands on maxed-out, browned-out cell towers with limited capacity and limited backhaul.

  6. Conserve spectrum!!!


    So, I will use 2.4Ghz instead of 1.8Ghz

    Still used up boys.

    3G is what…500 meters max? (Or is that feet…avg…all the buildings…). WiFi is what….5 feet! (and never works as most only allow between 5 and 25 connections per access point)

    Sounds like a good plan to me!!!

    And, where do they think

  7. This article is a bit silly.

    The problem isn’t only needing more EM frequency spectrum. It would help but is only one solution.

    The problem is also BANDWIDTH.

    IOW: Hey carriers! EXPAND YOUR DATA BANDWIDTH! Get REAL 4G technology! (As opposed to the modified 3G tech being falsely foisted as ‘4G’).

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