Orange France admits to capping iPhone 3G speeds

Hit with a petition from thousands of irate French customers, wireless operator Orange has reportedly admitted to throttling download speeds for the iPhone 3G, and is promising some relief by September 15.

According to France Info -- the online service of Radio France -- iPhone carrier Orange has now admitted to a policy of restricting download speeds to only 200 to 300 Kbps.

"3G+ -- with which the iPhone is compatible -- can theoretically reach speeds almost four times higher," according to an account in the French publication, translated into English via Google's translation engine.

When contacted by France Info, however, Orange admitted that download speeds on the French network has been "deliberately limited" to no more than 384 Kbps.

Then, "after a technical meeting held Monday evening at the headquarters of Orange in Paris, the operator [promised] that the [download speeds] of iPhones will be increased up to 1 Mbps from 15 September," France Info said. "This bonus speed [will] be implemented automatically without the need [for] users to have to re-configure their devices."

As previously reported in BetaNews, users in France have been complaining that Orange France performs slow downloads to Apple's new iPhone, when much higher speeds are possible on competing STR's mobile network in France. Meanwhile, in an informal survey by Wired, users in the neighboring countries of Germany and the Netherlands reported the fastest 3G download speeds worldwide, amounting to roughly 2,000 Kbps.

Orange's decision to raise download speeds to 1 Mbps (1,000 Kbps) came one day after a group of angry French customers started circulating a petition. Now signed by more than 4,500 users, the petition demands that "Orange respects today its contractual commitment allowing [access] to [3G+ for] subscribers who pay for it."

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