This weekend marked the first time that Sprint was ever able to offer Apple’s popular smartphone to its customers. The carrier’s been waiting for 4 years now to gain access to the coveted handset.

But even though the new iPhone helped the company set a single-day sales record, the weekend launch didn’t go as smoothly as planned. Several Sprint subscribers have been complaining about the device’s 3G browsing speeds…

In our speed test showdown last week, we pitted iPhone 4S handsets from Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T against each other to compare 3G browsing speeds. The results were pretty clearcut, and Sprint was by far the slowest carrier of the three.

And it seems like the test results echo around the country, as several Sprint customers have voiced similar complaints. In fact, so many have come forward that Sprint felt the need to make an official statement. Here it is via PCMag:

“As always, Sprint is carefully monitoring the performance of the 3G network. We are looking into a small number of reports of slow data speeds when using the iPhone 4S, however there are also reports showing that Sprint’s network is the fastest, such as the Gizmodo report that came out earlier today. Speed tests represent a moment in time and are subject to many variables including weather, time of day, device, and proximity to a tower. Sprint will continue to monitor the feedback we are getting from our customers and will investigate and resolve any issues that may arise.”

As MacRumors points out, it’s unclear which Gizmodo report Sprint is referring to. The gadget site’s speed test returned the same results that ours did, with Sprint showing dramatically slower data speeds than either of the other two carriers.

So even though it still offers the unlimited data plan, Sprint’s wireless service doesn’t come without its caveats. It looks like if you frequently use your phone to browse the web outside of a Wi-Fi network, you may want to think twice before going with the iPhone’s newest carrier.

Any Sprint customers experiencing similar problems?

  • Francesco

    no i haven’t experienced any problems with the 3G on my iphone 4S, even thou a tower is near Newark, NJ i get gud as reception and even on the town i like in.. no problems

  • Sebastedien

    thou, gud, as, like just to mention a few… seriously, stay in school!

    • Francesco

      lolz, true i’m in college in Newark, Nj …. 2nd yr 2nd semester ight

      • Chris

        job corps doesn’t count.

  • Robert

    I had some issues when I first got my 4s but after I reset my network connections it works fine not as fast as 4g from my old android handset but still not terrible

    • Johnpaul

      I have a sprint iPhone 4s howed you reset the network connection thank you

    • Brandon B.

      Out of the box the 4s will have data roaming turned off and wifi already enabled. Switch data roaming on (because it was designed to work on GSM and CDMA networks) and your new iPhone 4s will work a LOT faster.

      Brandon B.
      Sprint Employee

  • Harpinder

    Hey guyz check out AT&T internet speed on my iphone4.
    Wifi Vs 3g

  • Harpinder

    Once again awesome speed today over 3g. Download speed 4.44mbps, Upload speed 1.20mbps

  • bc


    “a small number of reports of slow data speeds”

    If it was actually a small number they wouldn’t really need to release a statement, would they? They could just address each one individually.

  • n

    This is the Gizmodo report…it took me two seconds to find yet macrumors and this site couldnt find it…

  • Smalldog

    Just tried the Sppedtest app on my iPhone 4S on Sprint, and here are my results in Goodyear, AZ:
    .24mbit down / .44mbit up (testing to Phoenix, AZ). Testing to San Jose, I got pretty much the same results.

    These speeds suck. Why did I go with Sprint?!?!!? I am not a large consumer of 3G data, so this isn’t critical to me. Sprint’s pricing was way better than VZW or ATT for family plan with 4 iPhone 4S’s.

    I think the app isn’t fully up to par or the WiFi in the iPhone 4S is not as good as it could be. I know when I run the Speedtest app in Chrome on my desktop, I max out my internet connection 50bmbit down/5mbit up, and with a dual band router running a/b/g/n, I don’t think that my router is the bottleneck here.

    Sprint is going to have to take the millions they just got from their iPhone sales and put a few buck into their infrastructure.

  • Stteve

    I’ve experienced incredibly slow data speeds in Chicago. Rarely did I get over 500kbps. Average was 150-300kbps. It was so bad, I returned the phone(s) within 5 days. Sprint hit me with $35 restocking fee per phone. I’d avoid Sprint. Their network is slow and with their stock in the tank, I can’t imagine major improvements. I’d guess their LTE rollout will be delayed. I’d bet the iPhone could be the nail in their coffin.

  • Stteve

    I’ve experienced incredibly slow data speeds in Chicago. Rarely did I get over 500kbps. Average was 150-300kbps. It was so bad, I returned the phone(s) within 5 days. Sprint hit me with $35 restocking fee per phone. I’d avoid Sprint.

  • Hyytekk

    I have had Sprint for over 11 years and was elated at finally having the iPhone option which I preordered after doing my due diligence research. Unfortunately, everything I was told was either misleading or a lie due to ignorance perhaps or perhaps deliberate deception. First was the download speed problem. I went to the Sprint store to ask if they had a demo model to test the download speeds or if they had any local data to give a customer an idea of performance. I was told they did not receive any advance units but showed me speeds tested at the store on other phones over 3G. Those speeds were from 1 to 1.75m downloads. The iPhone 4S would have at least that speed I was told. The reality after receiving the phone was about one tenth of that speed, though it varied wildly. Side by side tests with friends who had the iPhone 4 with ATT, showed they were getting speeds from 5 to 50 times faster! That blew me away. That’s a main reason people buy a smart phone. Problem 2: We were all told the trial/return window was 14 days from “activation”. Thank god I read blogs saying they were now saying 14 days from time of purchase! That gave the pre orderers much less time. That was downright deceit. Problem 3: This is a world phone. I had a Blackberry Tour that had a swappable sim card so I could receive local rates in other countries. I again called Sprint and asked precise questions even from supervisors. I was assured the 4S would work exactly like that. Later a bizarrely confusing statement was released regarding that usage. After calling again, now I was told that Apple does not authorize using a local sim card but only the included sim card meaning all calls placed from out of the country would be routed through Sprint’s partner in that country. The cost would be either $1.99 per minute or $2.29 per minute! Again, an outright lie from what I was assured of and influenced my order. Problem 4: Sprint charges a restocking fee for returning the phone of $35! So with the activation fee that means it cost me about $100 to use a phone for about one week that I bought because of being told completely incorrect information. Problem 5: When I returned the phone today, the Sprint service person at my local store was so rude it blew me away, because I went out of my way to be polite and say nothing of the deception I encountered. I offered to show her how a uTube video stops every second or two over their 3g network to inform her of the issue. She wanted nothing of it. I asked if others were returning their iPhones and she rudely said I was the only one. But the sign-in sheet showed the person right before me was returning theirs also. I reactivated my blackberry, but just until I can sign up with AT&T. I was extremely disappointed with Sprint after a decade of loyalty. Buyer beware.

  • Clint Elibox

    My data speed is extremely slow…. Sprint needs to upgrade its infrastructure.