As some of you know far too well, a number of people using Straight Talk Wireless on their iPhones are suffering with extremely slow data speeds using Straight Talk’s AT&T-compatible network. The problem started in December 2013 when Straight Talk released the TFW 15.7 carrier update for iPhones using iOS 7.0.x.
In this update, Straight Talk changed the network indicator from 4G to 3G. While this change was just cosmetic for many, some users experienced a drastic performance hit in network speeds. Readers using the Speed Test app reported speeds far below 2G data rates even though the status bar indicator displayed 3G.
Fortunately, many readers were able to fix the problem by using a trick with iTunes to revert their carrier from TFW 15.7 to TFW 15.6 and the problem went away. Unfortunately, people are now updating to iOS 7.1 and the problem has returned. The iOS 7.1 update also includes the carrier update TFW 16.0 and with iOS 7.1, it seems that its no longer possible to revert back to TFW 15.6.
Other than the change from 4G to 3G, I always wondered what else changed in between TFW 15.6 and TFW 15.7 that might be causing the speed reduction. So today, I contacted Joe, from the iTweakiOS web site.
Joe is famous for his knowledge and ability to tweak iOS carrier files, or carrier bundles as they are called. Joe’s tweaked carrier bundles have improved network speeds and signal for many T-Mobile and ATT network users. To use Joe’s carrier bundles requires that you have a jailbroken iPhone. I don’t use or write about jailbroken iPhones mainly because I try to keep smartphonematters tailored for the average users. Check out iTweakiOS to find out more about what he does.
I asked Joe two questions. First, does he know a way we can install TFW 15.6 on iOS 7.1 and second if he could take a look at both TFW 15.6 and TFW 15.7 and tell us if he sees any changes that would account for a descress in network speed. Below is his response.
So this actually raises a lot of questions. If there are no significant changes in the carrier bundle, is it really the source of the network performance issue? We have had enough users report this problem, and that going back to TFW 15.6 fixes this issue that I believe, they are related. Is the performance problem a side effect? I’ll write more about it as I find out more.