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AT&T iPhone beats Verizon in nationwide 3G speed tests

Discussion in 'GENERAL Wireless Discussion' started by viewfly, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    I guess that Verizon opened a can of worms by carrying the iPhone. This will go over the news wires - This is from CNN.com already.

    Supports ATT ads on TV over the last 2 years...


    Source

    CNN(WIRED) -- The Verizon iPhone and AT&T iPhone have gone head-to-head in thousands of broadband tests, and the numbers tell the story you'd expect: AT&T's network is much faster.
    Ookla, creators of the Speedtest.net broadband test, compiled data from tests run by iPhone customers using the Speedtest.net app on both AT&T and Verizon.

    On average, the reported AT&T iPhone transfer rates were roughly two times faster than the Verizon iPhone's.

    The AT&T iPhone's average download speed was 1,769 Kbps, and the average upload speed was 730 Kbps. By way of comparison, the Verizon iPhone's average download speed was 848 Kbps, and the average upload speed was 506 Kbps.

    The results come from 43,000 AT&T iPhones and 14,000 Verizon iPhones all over the United States. Most Speedtest.net app users ran the tests multiple times, totaling 106,000 results from AT&T iPhone users and 49,000 results from Verizon iPhone users.

    The Speedtest.net results did not provide data on coverage reliability or dropped connections.
    From my benchmarking of the Verizon iPhone versus the AT&T iPhone, I also found that the AT&T iPhone's 3G transfer rates were much faster than Verizon's.

    However, the AT&T iPhone sometimes could not complete tests because it did not have a connection, whereas the Verizon iPhone successfully completed every test. In short, I found the Verizon iPhone to be slower with network transfers but more reliable with coverage. Reviewers at other publications had the same results.

    "I think that's the story I expected to see," said Doug Suttles, co-founder of Ookla. "Verizon has never talked up their speed, but they always talk up coverage and reliability.... I think the story is quality versus throughput: What are you after?"

    Speedtest.net's nationwide results back my verdict: You should get a Verizon iPhone if you really care about voice quality and calls, but the AT&T iPhone is better as a media-consumption device (Netflix movies, photo downloads and uploads, etc.) because of its faster speeds.
     
  2. M in LA

    M in LA Mobile 28 Years Plus
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    This isn't a surprise at all. EV-DO Rev. A can't hold a candle to HSPA. For the time being that the iPhone operates on Verizon's 3G network, it won't be as fast as AT&T's version.

    As much as I would like faster web speed on my phone, I can live with it. AT&T is not an option for me, so I'll take Verizon's speed limitation for now. LTE is here and progressing as we speak. This won't be a disadvantage for Verizon much longer (even if an LTE iPhone is more than a year away), IMO.
     
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  3. charlyee

    charlyee Ultimate Insanity
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    I feel this is more insulting to at&t than Verizon. It clearly concludes that if you want a dependable voice service use Verizon but if you want it for Media purposes then at&t is better.

    At least that's the way it comes across to me. At&t works better than Verizon in my area but if it was the other way, I certainly would not sacrifice better coverage for faster downloads. So if the VeriPhoneopened up a can worms it is that Verizon has better coverage and also verifying the Blue map with lots of holes that Verizon uses for the negative campaign.
     
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    #3 charlyee, Feb 20, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2011
  4. Yankees368

    Yankees368 Compulsive Signal Checker
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    AT&T is usually faster, but not always at a reliable rate (anyone in NYC will tell you that). Also, don't fall for their "4G" nonsense. Their latest "4G" device, the Inspire 4G doesnt even have HSUPA, only HSDPA. What a crock.
     
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  5. QLR

    QLR RIP Note!
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    I can't vouch for/against AT&T for network speed as I only had them for prepaid as speed is mostly throttled for prepaid users. I was able to get a 3G signal when I had my Nokia in Tallahassee and Atlanta but speeds were mostly EDGE or GPRS.

    I am sure AT&T is faster in theory, but I'd rather have more 3G in more places than super fast in a handful of places.

    I can definitely tell that Verizon 4G is in Atlanta... I was pulling 2.5M down and 1M up in East Point. Also, Verizon has gotten better in Tallahassee. I was only getting 500-700K here. I normally get 1.5M now ;) The AT&T users here are generally happy as well. Their 3G has greatly expanded to the delight of their users.
     
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  6. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    I very much disagree with you here Charlyee :wink: Sorry.

    The article provides hard data on the speed comparisons and hence the title. At the end, the writer offers his opinions on 'voice quality' and 'call', without any data from users. I never had voice quality issues that were abnormal for the situation: another way of saying I have received crappy calls from my Verizon friends.

    The article is clearly focussed on Data Speeds, and I feel a little differently than MobileMike. Although it may be not a surprise to WA readers, it will be a surprise to most non-techies that read CNN.

    My point: In all the News lead up articles to the Verizon iPhone launch, the comparisons were many: call coverage better for Verizon; ATT gives you Voice + Data, ATT gives you World service, etc.

    Never once did I read any article that make note of 2x lower data speeds with Verizon. Even Consurmers Reports doesn't bring this up: in fact they said, 'don't buy the Verizon iPhone, because it is not LTE'...well they could have mentioned to buy ATT because it already has good data speeds. But CR did not.

    But now, that the iPhones are out for comparisons (and we are really comparing networks, not phones) headline news is being made, and I think it will make some hesitate...after all, A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE GREAT COVERAGE WITH ATT.

    People like you and me Charylee that are happy with our ATT coverage.

    I guess it surprised me somewhat. i just never gave it much thought. I know that UTMS has the potential for better speeds, and that it might be somewhat better than Verizon...but not this much. 2X's??

    Even here on WA Forums, where I'm happy with ATT call quality and coverage, I have had some WA's recommend that I try the Droids and other Android phones....mainly implying to use Verizon to get access to those phones. The concern about losing voice+ data is generally viewed as not a big deal by some here.

    Yet, WA's swarm to new phones that have better CPU speeds, one bumps themselves up from 500Khz to a Snapdragon 1 Ghz...or even 'root' an android to push the clock speed!

    Yet no one mentions that moving to verizon will reduce my wireless data speeds by a factor of 2? I'm amazed. Somehow, that has to slip into the conversation, eh?

    Well, maybe I just wrong, and this was a big discussion somewhere. I'd be please to see that. I haven't taken the time to buy a Verizon phone (any phone) and run speedtests on it. But when I've posted my ATT speedtests of 1800 Kbps or so, no one chimed in and said, 'wow, wish I had that on my Verizon Android or whatever' and get 850 Kbps :confused:
     
  7. hme83

    hme83 Bronze Senior Member
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    I'm not surprised by it at all - nowhere have I seen any contention that Verizon's network is/was ever viewed as being as fast as data can be on at&t - where at&t's network works well. Of course, I can't speak for the CNN readers who don't frequent any of the wireless forums, but on the wireless forums that I visit I'd be surprised if these findings come as a great shock to the regular members. But to your point, maybe 1/2 the speed on Verizon would be a large difference to many users - as I don't recall ever really seeing thoughts/comments re: users' actual experiences quantified in that manner.

    The pervasive sentiments that I've seen are all along the lines of "I wish at&t's 3G coverage/service was adequate for me, as sure - I'd prefer the faster data speeds and ability for simultaneous voice and data. However what's most important is consistently having voice and data service - and I don't get that with at&t." (Primarily from users in marginal 3G areas, or they are in a well-covered 3G area, but one where network congestion consistently creates issues.)

    I don't know whether data on Verizon would be faster for me or not - but what I do know is my new 3G device (non-smartphone SE W518a) is no faster than my older 2G SE W580i. And it is using the HSPA network ("H" icon is present as is the simultaneous use of voice and data). Very disappointing, as it seems like at&t may be throttling data speeds (at least in some areas) on non-smartphone devices in order to help manage their network resources.

    And it really doesn't matter what at&t's 3G speeds are capable of when you are in an area where you have to turn off the 3G network access in order to effectively use your phone - which many at&t users still have to do.
     
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  8. charlyee

    charlyee Ultimate Insanity
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    Thanks hme for your insightful post and specially from someone that has to put up with the crying that takes place on the at&t forums every day. :D
     
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  9. Yankees368

    Yankees368 Compulsive Signal Checker
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    No one chimed in to say "wow" to 1800kbps because that is an easily achievable number of EVDO. When I am home in NYC with my Droid2, I routinely pull in near or over 2000kbps without problem (probably because of the added backhaul from LTE). Sure, here in Michigan the vzw EVDO network is a total wreck and I sometimes have trouble getting any data, but that is not the norm, most areas have pretty good speeds.
    Just watch one of the many speed test comparisons done between the iphone AT&T and vzw versions. Videos - Free video downloads and streaming video - CNET TV
    Heck, in that video, the vzw iphone constantly was faster than the AT&T version, sometimes much faster (518kbpz vs. 40kbps(!?!?) , 440kbps v. 189kbps, 651kbps v. 116kbps, 543 kbps v. 120 kbps)
    Just because you can get 2x the speeds does not mean you ever will.
     
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  10. charlyee

    charlyee Ultimate Insanity
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    The article first came out on February 17 on wired.com. My first and continued reaction was that it was basically calling at&t's coverage inferior. Here is the writer's previous article.

    The iPhone Is Now a Phone. Who

    Btw, I just did a random speed test and got 2.9 mb and 1.8 mb down and up and -77dbm, so I have the best of both world in our little one-horse town. :D

    Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.1-update1; en-ca; SonyEricssonX10a Build/2.1.A.0.435) AppleWebKit/530.17 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/530.17
     
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  11. Yankees368

    Yankees368 Compulsive Signal Checker
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    Nice article. Here is an excerpt from it: "However, the AT&T iPhone completely failed multiple tests when it could not connect to the network, whereas the Verizon iPhone was able to successfully get a connection in every location and complete every test. That’s important."

    That is the major problem with AT&T. When it works, it's usually pretty good, but it does not work far too often. My other gripe is that in places like Michigan and most of the country, their 3G coverage only covers major cities and towns, and there is very little connecting coverage between them. Like here in Lansing, 3G covers the city center and immediate suburbs, but once you go north, south, or west, 3G stops and you drop to EDGE or even GRPS. I'm sure they will eventually fill these areas in, but remember, Verizons entire network is EVDO.
     
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  12. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    Well, I'm not convinced and stick to my original point. Yankee368, from the same article that you quote,

    "That’s simply because Verizon’s 3G-transfer rates are slower than AT&T’s. For the few days I’ve had the Verizon iPhone, I’ve been riding my motorcycle all around San Francisco to test its performance against the AT&T iPhone. The AT&T handset on average scored significantly better in speed tests: 62 percent faster for downloads and 38 percent faster for uploads. "

    So that contradicts your CNET post and confirms the OP post. San Francisco. CNET and Wired...both in San Francisco. All these reviewers are in San Fran...a known problem area. If Verizon is the winner at 560 something Kbps...wow that is pretty poor.

    Come out to Boston and try that same test....ATT will get 1500 kps pretty easily.

    Like I said, before the iPhone 4 Verizon launch, not much heard about these diferences in data speeds.

    Yankee if you get 2000 all the time in NYC that is interesting....but contradicts those who say it is well known that ATT is faster than Verizon.

    So it it really confusing.

    And I'm not starting a war between Coverage vs Data Speeds. Just the fact that if you do have good ATT 3G coverage...ATT is much better than Verizon...and even the calls are good. The CNET test were clearly in poor San Fran ATT network areas and that makes all the difference.

    I'd sure would like to see the WA posting from a year ago that come ATT to Verizon data speeds...are there any?

    Well rule the day with LTE is on both ATT and Verizon...and no more these questions...maybe be then ATT will cover San Fran. What the heck is the problem there? NIMBY antenna placement?
     
  13. Yankees368

    Yankees368 Compulsive Signal Checker
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    I think the theory that AT&T is always faster than Verizon stems from the past few years. Speeds on Verizon were much slower, only speeding up when they rolled out the LTE network, and gave much more bandwidth to the 3G network as well. The problem for AT&T is also dropping calls. This happens frequently in NYC, and since they are on the 850 band, it shouldn't.
    I do not know what the problem with AT&T in San Fran is, I assume it is just an over abundance of yuppies with iphones on the AT&T network, and it simply can't deal with the number of users.
     
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  14. Gamer03

    Gamer03 Technology Aficionado
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    Down where I am for a good portion of the day, Verizon has the best signal and speeds in the area. ATT has EDGE in this area if you are lucky to get a signal. ATT's closest 3G coverage is 25 miles west of the area. So I have both good data speeds and a solid network. :biggrin: Also, like it says in the article, I care more about the voice quality and calls.

    Here are the speeds that I can get pretty easily with Verizon:

    Speed test 1:

    [​IMG]

    Speed test 2:

    [​IMG]

    Speed test 3:

    [​IMG]

    Speed test 4:

    [​IMG]
     
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    #14 Gamer03, Feb 20, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2011
  15. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    YAY!!! Some real data. Looks good Gamer...I completely retract anything I said out of ignorance!

    Thank you!

    Viewfly
     
  16. Yankees368

    Yankees368 Compulsive Signal Checker
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    Here is me in Michigan
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here is my in NYC (disregard the wifi symbol, that was only on why I uploaded the pics)
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Gamer03

    Gamer03 Technology Aficionado
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    Nice speeds, Yankees. Thanks for sharing them. :cool:
     
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  18. Yankees368

    Yankees368 Compulsive Signal Checker
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    I just wish I could get anything like that anymore here in Michigan. Stupid Alltel merger
     
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  19. Gamer03

    Gamer03 Technology Aficionado
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    You're welcome.
     
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  20. spleck

    spleck Tool
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    I think the bulk of the millions of smartphone users won't notice a difference between 1769 and 848 kbps in practical use.
     
  21. RadioRaiders

    RadioRaiders RF Black-Belt
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    Absolutely not. Maybe you just aren't reading WA enough ;) ...or only reading the articles with "iPhone" in the title? ;) In fact just 2 weeks ago I posted this:

    http://forums.wirelessadvisor.com/w...g-4g-speed-test-every-carrier.html#post560714

    detailing differences in 3G and 4G networks. I've posted similar things many, many times in the past as well. Personally I don't really like EVDO, that's Verizon's and Sprints "3G" technology, being called "3G" because it's an extension of their 2G network. UMTS is a completely new and separate 3G network from the 2G GSM network (I know, I've brought down 3G networks from the network side, but GSM stayed up and running :D)
     
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  22. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    RadioRaiders, this I know. But I'm not talking about speeds in theory, but practical user experienced speeds. The article in the OP surveys 40,000/14000 users, with tests that cover 100K/40K tests. You live in Switzerland, right? I'm looking for some practical US results. Maybe your CelluMap program has some stats on that?

    That is giving Verizon in the 700 kbps vs ATT at 1800 kbps for download speeds. That is a lot of data. In this thread we have some that are getting Vz speeds of 2500 kbps is, quite frankly, is very darn good.

    So question to the Vz users in this thread...were you getting these speeds routinely last year or the year before? How to you explain your results against the vastly different speeds in the OP article? I mean even here on the WA the comments are very divergent.

    Certainly perception is reality...and the news wires are carrying the theme that Vz is vastly slower. My point is that I haven't really seen that difference illuminated as sharply in the tech media comparison before the Vz iPhone 4 launch.

    P.S. RadioRaiders, I'm getting more that tired, and somewhat insulted, by your constant sarcastic non technical, non-news worthy iPhone digs in general and to me personally. I think we might get along a lot better if you give it up that theme. So indeed, I read all threads on WA.
     
  23. Gamer03

    Gamer03 Technology Aficionado
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    I was getting these speeds last year in my area. In congested areas (i.e. lots of people using cell phones during peak usage time, etc.), I get between 800-1600 Kbps for my download speed and 500-700 Kbps for my upload speed. Again this is in congested areas (i.e. downtown, main roads in busy shopping areas, near malls, etc). In areas that are not as congested I get between 1700-2500 Kbps download and 700-900 Kbps upload. So I am still happy with my speeds even though they may or may not be as fast as ATT. Also when I am in a particular area, my speed results are pretty consistent whereas with ATT (when I used to have them) they were all over the board. Also one interesting side note is that my neighbor who has ATT and the iPhone 4 told me the other day that his signals in my neighborhood and data speeds are getting worse and aren't as good as they used to be. I found that to be quite interesting, since he has never complained of those issues before. As for explaining my results, I posted real world results in my area so no explanation is needed. :rolleyes: There are several factors that will affect the speed results (distance to tower, tower congestion, being indoors vs. outdoors, number of users on the tower, etc. etc.). So again, it depends on what works the best in your area and even though articles on the internet may state something, it is always not necessarily true and may or may not apply to everyone.
     
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    #23 Gamer03, Feb 21, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2011
  24. RadioRaiders

    RadioRaiders RF Black-Belt
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    Well, a good starting place is to know the technical specifications and limitations. I think EVDO being capped at 3Mbps is pretty important to know. As is that HSPA can deliver anywhere between 6Mbps-21Mbps right now. Of course everyone's mileage is going to vary, depending on where you are, and what time of the day you try to connect. People here on WA quite often share their data connection speeds. I've seen alot of SpeedNet test results here on WA all the time. If you want to get a feel for your local area, ask your friends or make tests for yourself, in exactly the places you want to be.

    Thanks for appreciating my sarcasm :thumb:. And please, call me RR, we're all friends here ;)
     
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  25. hme83

    hme83 Bronze Senior Member
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    My feeling is that presuming you are in a one-horse town that is lucky enough to have gotten at&t 3G, that's probably the best situation to be in. lol. I get much better service in OKC than I do every time I go to Dallas. At least I can consistently get a data connection again (after 2.5 years of inconsistency) in OKC these days (even if it's at 2G speeds on a 3G device); in Dallas it's completely hit and miss - in AT&T's own backyard. :( (Same experience in the Miami, FL area as well the last time I was there - although it was a couple of years ago. Key West - no problems whatsoever.)

    And generally speaking, that seems to fairly closely mirror what I see posted on various forums as well - users on at&t outside of the major metropolitan areas seem to consistently have the better experience if 3G coverage has made it to their area.
     
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  26. Yankees368

    Yankees368 Compulsive Signal Checker
    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
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    876
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    Location:
    NYC
    My Phone:
    iPhones 4S???
    Wireless Provider(s):
    Verizon, Sprint 2002-2010, Voicestream 2001-2002
    The speeds I posted were before the vzw iphone was even announced, November or December of this past year. When I go back to those places (last time was early Feb.) I did not notice a difference.
     
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  27. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
    Senior Member

    Joined:
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    My Phone:
    iPhone XS Space Grey
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    Thanks for the useful information.

    -VF
     
  28. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
    Senior Member

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    iPhone XS Space Grey
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    AT&T; Tmobile SIM only

    No problem, RadioRaiders :rolleyes:
     
  29. RadioRaiders

    RadioRaiders RF Black-Belt
    Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Ha-ha, that's your first post in months that made me smile, instead of the usual slapping my forehead with my hand :D
     
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  30. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
    Senior Member

    Joined:
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    ah, I see, then it is truly hopeless :rolleyes: Too bad, I had many more like that one, but the WA censors keep removing them. :wink:

    Well, you have given me encouragement to post more so that you can 'knock yourself out' :D

    Now go out and get that iPhone that you desire, and make me smile too. Share the joy! ;)
     

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