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Has Apple been throttling speeds on the iPhone 7 for Verizon subscribers in order to provide a uniform experience across different carriers? That’s the big question a new investigation seeks to answer, based on research showing that iPhone 7 performances on Verizon have been roughly on par with those on AT&T.
They shouldn’t be, according to researchers at Twin Prime Inc. and Cellular Insights. By all accounts, iPhone 7 users on Verizon should be enjoying markedly faster speeds.
“The data indicates that the iPhone 7 is not taking advantage of all of Verizon’s network capabilities,” said Gabriel Tavridis, head of product at Twin Prime to Bloomberg. “I doubt that Apple is throttling each bit on the Verizon iPhone, but it could have chosen to not enable certain features of the network chip.”
To understand the issue, it’s important to realize that not all iPhone 7s are identical. In order to keep up with strong demand, Apple has diversified its global supply chain, integrating components from different suppliers in Asia into its smartphones.
AT&T-compatible iPhone 7 units feature an Intel modem whereas units built for Verizon use Qualcomm modems. For all intents and purposes, the Qualcomm modems are a lot more powerful. The Qualcomm X12 can attain speeds of 600 megabits per second, while the Intel modem tops out at just 450.
But Twin Prime researchers have found that Verizon-compatible iPhone 7 units are only slightly outperforming their AT&T counterparts. On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy S7 also comes with the Qualcomm X12, but its network speeds are twice as fast as the iPhone 7 on Verizon.
What gives? Researchers suspect that Apple may be intentionally throttling the performance of the X12 on its iPhones for the sake of maintaining an air of consistency. In reality, however, the iPhone 7’s sold by Verizon come with superior components.