The feature I most looked forward to with IOS 4.x was the personal hotspot. Great, I could ditch the T-Stick and finally get to use a chunk of the 3Gb per month Vodafone gives me on my iPhone plan. The hotspot works a treat but, and it is a mighty big but, the data speed when tethering is painfully slow. Dialup slow. Even slower some days. Unusabley slow. For a while I thought it was my phone, or the latest point release of IOS or my PC or my Mac, or the way I was holding my phone so I kept using the T-Stick hoping the tethering would come right sometime soon.
Six months on it is no better, in fact I think it’s worse.
(iPhone tethering on Vodfone)
Why so poor?
The data speeds on the phone itself are fine – not brilliant but good enough.
(native iPhone on Vodafone / Pocket Wifi on Vodafone is similar)
If take the sim out and put it into a Pocket Wifi (AUD $79 from dicksmith.com.au sometimes on special at AUD $39 and unlocked courtesy of www.zibri.org for approx NZD $25) then connect to its wifi network I get the about the same speed as the phone gets. Entirely adequate for working on the road.
If I put the T-Stick’s XT sim in the phone (set the data and tethering apn to internet.telecom.co.nz) and tether to the personal hotspot then I get T-Stick speeds out of it. Not flash but good enough.
(iPhone tethering on XT)
So what can we deduce from that lot?
The problem is with the Vodafone network. The official carrier for the iPhone in NZ can’t or won’t provide useable tethering for the iPhone, the unofficial carrier can and does. Actually this shouldn’t be a surprise, it was only with the quad band iPhone 4 that iPhone users could get any sort of 3G coverage outside of a handful of main centres with Vodafone. The iPhone 3s do get excellent coverage on the XT network but thats another story.
Can’t or won’t?
The conspiracy theorist in me says won’t but from the Vodafone forums it looks like can’t is the reason.
Just an old network with old software that is in the process of being upgraded. The latest update on the forum (as at 7 August 2011) is that it will be fixed for the Rugby World Cup. Don’t count on it.
Me – well my plan with Vodafone is up in December. If the problem is fixed and I can keep my 3Gb of data per month without signing up for another two years then I may stay with Vodafone. If not then it is XT4ME.