You have to feel for Sprint customers, don’t you? First they had to wait four years to get their hands on an iPhone, and now that they have it, their data network doesn’t appear to be coping too well.

As Macrumors is now reporting, there is now a fairly long thread developing over at the Sprint support forums, where iPhone owners are reporting issues, mainly of the “my iPhone’s 3G data connection is soo slow” variety…

One upset iPhone 4S owner took to the forums, armed with a screenshot of a Speedtest.net report which clearly shows his download speed of 0.16Mbps. While the immediate thought is that perhaps there is an issue with reception in his area, or maybe a faulty mast, it appears his other phone isn’t suffering from the same issue.

“This is the speedtest screen capture I did on my brand new iPhone 4S.  As you can see, I got .016Mbps down and 0.05Mbps up.  For those of you want to say maybe the network is just slow in my area.  I did the same test with Samsung Epic Touch with 4G turned off at the same spot.  It’s 3 times faster.  Is sprint crippling iPhone data rate, or there is something wrong with iPhone CDMA radio itself.”

That’s pretty damning.

As well as reports across other forums all over the internet, our very own Jeff Benjamin also noticed this exact same phenomena when testing iPhone 4S handsets on all three US carriers – Sprint, AT&T and Verizon.

The results didn’t make great watching for Sprint, with the newcomer a distant last in our admittedly unscientific tests.

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd7taHnHzcg[/tube]

Interestingly, Verizon’s iPhone 4S suffers no such issues, which suggests that the problem is not CDMA hardware-related. Whatever the issue is, it’s a Sprint issue.

Before everyone gets all angry at Sprint, this wouldn’t be the first time a carrier has struggled under the strain of an iPhone release. It’s taken AT&T four years to begin to cope with the amount of data US iPhone users get through, and it’s entirely possible Sprint is simply struggling to keep up. Having said that, if reports that other handsets  performing normally are correct, a network outage probably isn’t to blame.

Are you a Sprint customer packing an iPhone 4 or 4S? Is your data flowing as freely as you’d hoped?

You know where the comments are!