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3g/4g symbol on ipad 3


iPF Noob
Feb 6, 2011
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I've had the new iPad 4G for nearly 7 months and not once has the 3G symbol displayed when I'm positive to be in a 3G coverage area. 100% of the time it either shows 4G or E. Is this normal? Should the 3G symbol show if in a 3G coverage area? Thanks in advance!
If you are on AT&T then 4G is 3G, only a bit faster.

3G on Verizon is the CDMA protocol.

3G on AT&T is the HSPA protocol. They have very few, if any, areas with this slower coverage left.

4G on AT&T is HSPA+ (faster than most 3G but not even close to as fast as LTE)

For quite a while AT&T called this 3G, saying they had the fastest 3G service, but when the iPhone 5 came out (or around that time) they started calling it 4G. This was mostly (so I would guess) because other carriers were already calling HSPA+ 4G, leaving them at a disadvantage market-speak-wise. So the iPhone 5 shows it as 4G.

LTE is the newest fastest protocol and the same on both AT&T and Versions. Well the same protocol, not necessarily the same speed or availability, and due to frequency differences not compatible. This is the service that would have been called 4G before the market people got ahold of the term and made it mostly useless.

If you have LTE coverage, the iPad will say LTE.

E is EDGE, the fallback protocol on AT&T, pre 3G. Very slow by today's standards.
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No problem.

About to make a correction about in the last line. I'm getting confused with the HTC EVO phone. E actually stands for EDGE.

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