On the off chance you were looking for another reason to be annoyed at the big US carriers, you may have found it. According to Fierce Wireless, AT&T isn't the only carrier that opted to remove Download Booster from the new Samsung Galaxy S5 – both Verizon and Sprint have yanked Samsung's LTE-WiFi merging feature. That would make T-Mobile the only US national carrier that supports it. Update: We've been tipped that the US Cellular Galaxy S5 will have Download Booster as well.


Download Booster kicks in when you are downloading files larger than 30MB, but only from supported sources like the Play Store and regular HTTP downloads. This feature ties the LTE and WiFi together and uses HTTP range requests to split the download up between both connections. By simultaneously grabbing parts of the file from both sources, you get a much faster downloads. However, it has the potential to use a lot of LTE data, which is probably what the carriers don't like.

AT&T said Download Booster was still being tested, and we've heard that it might show up in an update later. Verizon and Sprint haven't commented beyond apparently telling Fierce that the feature wouldn't be included.

[Fierce Wireless]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play.

  • Dominic Powell

    Another talking point for John Legere if he so chooses... Maybe tomorrow is the elimination of Bloatware on Android Devices

    • remister

      Either this or upgrading them EDGE cell towers to better LTE service!

      • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

        But that's already known.

      • Frettfreak

        Already in the pipe. ETA is by end of 2015 to have all towers converted! go tmo!! So glad i am with these guys. Not perfect, but IMO better than the rest (and coverage is ALMOST a non issue anymore)

  • remister

    You can boost all you want, but Unlimited Data FTW!

    • Frettfreak

      yeah, honestly, since i have REALLY slow dsl (no other option) at my house, and tmo LTE at my house (literaly 10x faster) I dont turn on wifi except to chromecast!! lol

    • UMA_Fan

      Tmobile has unlimited LTE data with no throttling or overages AND you can use download booster on their S5. Plus tmobile has the fastest LTE in the nation.

  • TSON1

    This is really annoying. They include tons of crap we DON'T want on our phones and now they're removing the things we DO want?

    • andy_o

      It's not just "now" though. This goes back all the way to when Verizon used to block some bluetooth features like file sharing from capable dumbphones because they wanted you to use their service and PAY to email pictures that you took on your phone to yourself.

      • ProductFRED

        I believe there was a class action lawsuit about them or AT&T disabling aGPS in older BlackBerry models for the same reason.

    • thartist

      Seriously, either Google or Samsung or one backing the other should intervene, but this has to stop.

      • Just_Some_Nobody

        It would have to be Samsung. This has absolutely nothing to do with Google.

      • jonoave

        Why should Google or Samsung concern themselves? This is an action taken by carriers, and customers who don't like should get an unlocked phone or switch.

        It's like complaining to Pringles that Trader Joe's sells them at a higher price than Walmart.

        I just don't get the whole carrier l in US, and why customers lock themselves in and complain.

        • Scott Kaforey

          Maybe because pretty much all of them are evil and we have no choice? Of the ones that aren't evil, good luck getting as good as service as their evil counterparts

        • thartist

          Because carriers are already overpowered enough to shit on software updates, and now they even take the attribution of removing or altering software features of the device you were willing to get.
          If i were Google or Any OEM i would definitely shake them, rewrite the rules and put them in their place.

        • thartist

          Because carriers are already overpowered enough to shit on software updates, and now they even take the attribution of removing or altering software features of the device you were willing to get.
          If i were Google or Any OEM i would definitely shake them, rewrite the rules and put them in their place.

        • Thomas Tallant

          I am seriously considering going back to a GSM carrier from Verizon, but as of 2 years ago ONLY Verizon worked at my house, as well as the local grocery store, fast food place etc. Damn the monopoly sucks!

          • Jerome Dreanen

            I hate Verizon's guts. Their contract is twice as expensive compared to T-Mobile, and on top of that I get half the data and limited minutes and texts... What's more annoying is they add tons of bloatwares you don't want and remove the ones you want. I guess the same goes to ATT, but at least ATT is GSM you can use an unlocked device... CDMA has way too much limitation...

        • jrocdadon274

          No it's more like Trader Joe is taking an ingredient out without informing the consumer it did so. I shouldn't have to buy a unlocked phone to receive features the manufacturer wanted us to enjoy.

  • Brenden

    Finally... T-Mobile gets something Exclusive!!

  • rmkilc

    T-Mobile is definitely the leading the pack. The rest need to quit mucking up our phones.

    • Giovanni

      Would it even be usable on tmobile with their crappy speeds -__- ' , yea ... NO

    • Giovanni

      Would it even be usable on tmobile with their crappy speeds -__- ' , yea ... NO

      • rmkilc

        I get good speeds where I am.

      • David Hart

        I think you're confusing T-Mobile with Sprint

        • David Hart

          Can't add pictures to a previous comment.

          My T-Mobile Speeds inside my house. at least 25% better outside.

          • Cory

            You call that fast? I get speeds more than double that with Sprint. Although when compared to Europe and Asia (Japan South Korea) US data speeds suck for both home internet and cellular data..

          • David Hart

            I do consider it fast, look here, it beats the average.

            That's also in my house (T-Mobile isn't very great for penetration) at work I get speeds over the in home average.

            I can believe that you get double the speed, the same way I get nearly 28 Mb/s at work.

            Also scroll to the bottom of that page and tell me what you see.

          • Cory

            It may beat the nationwide average (I still get faster speeds from Sprint LTE) but it doesn't change the fact that those speeds and every US carrier speeds are a joke. They are all horrible when you compare them to the rest of the world. Show those speeds to someone from the UK or Japan or Australia they would laugh in your face that you think those speeds are anywhere near fast.

          • David Hart

            I can believe that, American network companies are in a terrible monopoly.

        • My Galaxy Prime

          Well T mobile and sprint are both bad

      • KingofPing

        Can't get T-Mobile where you live? Poor guy.

        Better lash out at them. That'll show 'em. /s

      • thunderbird32

        It's not speed that's the problem with T-Mobile, it's coverage. If you've got signal it's usually very fast.

      • Jason

        I have gotten speeds up to 40+ megs on my LG G2 on T-Mobile where I live. They have great speeds. When I was with Verizon they would throttle my LTE speeds.

      • twittter account

        Perhaps you just live in a bad area, but otherwise you should educate yourself. Tmobile has the nation's FASTEST 4g network. They dont have the coverage that ATT and verizon can offer (though they're not that far behind). a recent study showed that if you're in an area with Tmobile 4g coverage, it is the fastest network. http://www.phonearena.com/news/Speedtest-data-shows-that-T-Mobile-has-the-fastest-4G-LTE-pipeline-in-the-nation_id51188 if you're curious

        • Cory

          They won't have it for long.

      • My Galaxy Prime

        By your comment, I was assuming that you weren't with T-Mobile.

  • ArberBeq

    Wow I'm surprised AT&T and Verizon removed this. Don't they want to get paid massive data overcharge fees!?!?!?!?!?!??!

    • Daniel

      Why do you think they have those fees? It's to free up bandwidth.

      • Mike Harris

        Why build something if your goal is for people not to use it?

        • Freak4Dell

          The goal is to have the best experience for the people that use it in a responsible manner. They're not out to serve data hogs. Ruining their network reputation for a handful of hogs isn't worth it.

          • SkylaC90

            seriously! man? really. i'm not sure if your trolling or really that naive but get a clue already and see when someone is taking advantage of you

          • Timothy Vreeland

            Lol data hogs. You should work for them. You sound like you do. They are raking in the profits and taking government money at the same time yet they don't upgrade their network to please the customers who pay them for it. Now these customers are data hogs. Ha wow.. What a corporate stooge and fan boy.

        • Daniel

          Because it costs them money/customers when people overuse it.

      • Cuvis

        How cute, you actually believe that.

        • Daniel

          Believe that billion dollar corporations make decisions to profit. Yeah. I'm the naïve one.

          • Cuvis

            If you honestly believe that the reason for overage fees is to "free up bandwidth", and not to suck up more money from their customers without improving quality of service, then yes, you are the naive one.

          • Daniel

            I was on mobile on that other post so it appeared you were replying to my other comment. Still, what you are saying is not mutually exclusive to what I'm saying. Just because they could potentially do other things to also free up bandwidth does not mean that charging people per lot of data per month does not limit use and free up bandwidth.

    • BrandonP

      And at the same time T-Mobile, now being the only one to have booster, has also announced plans to eliminate overages. This is why T-Mobile has earned my business.

      • Freak4Dell

        I love T-Mobile, but what they did is complete marketing-speak. They haven't had overages in a long time (if they ever even did...I don't remember). The new plan is hard capped rather than throttled, and they're just using the overage thing to market it. It's not a new concept for T-Mobile.

        • BrandonP

          Either way I'm loving me some T-Mobile

  • enoch861

    This makes a lot of sense at the end of the day.
    Sprint LTE is usually slow (unless you're one of the few where it actually works), AT&T and Verizon have caps (unless you're grandfathered into unlimited). That leaves T-Mobile as the only viable career where the feature would actually be useful since their LTE speeds are usually really fast and you have an unlimited option.

    Although.. Verizon and AT&T would make a LOT of money from this feature since a lot of people would unknowingly go over their caps.

    • http://www.scottcolbert.com/ ScottColbert

      "Sprint LTE is usually slow"

      Which is exactly why I'd think they would keep it. By combining lte and wifi, customers would get better speeds and not want to jump ship.

      • lordmerovingian

        Don't get your analogy at all. If their LTE is already the slowest of them all, how does using WiFi make it any faster or give "better speeds"? This "feature" isn't giving anyone better speeds per se. If i'm at work (gigabit connection) or home (30Mb) where i obviously have speedier WiFi speeds than even the best LTE signal (2 - 5Mb at best..*Sprint) can give me, why does my phone need to "bond" WiFi and LTE to do anything? Just leave my WiFi alone.

        • http://www.scottcolbert.com/ ScottColbert

          It wasn't an analogy. And if you think everyoe has 30Mb speeds at home, you're sorely mistaken. Obviously this isn't for you, but for many-especially those on sprint, and with lower speed connections at home, it would be a boost. Common sense should tell you that.

          • lordmerovingian

            Sorry but there is no one who has access to Sprint's pokey LTE who doesn't have faster home internet. Try again. Even DSL puts Sprint's LTE to shame, and I have Sprint.

          • HalfnHalfCoffeeJelly

            Obviously you never used Verizon DSL. I won't even turn on wifi and it's that bad. Too bad you have crap coverage with LTE, where I have it it's pretty nice. That Netflix survey on its speeds are pretty spot on.

            I have Sprint and not someone bad mouthing a network they used last 4 yrs ago. It's getting better on Sprint but I would still watch out for T-mo. T-mo is in last place and even it's recent misstep, no employee discounts, they can afford to make drastic policy changes that's PR friendly. Once they get comfortable their bottom line will start to look more precious.

          • Cory

            You are a dumbass

        • JG

          It makes it "faster" by combining the two. You're phone can view the file you're trying to download divided into sections, kind of like chapters in a book (that's how you can resume failed downloads on some sites - your computer knows how many complete "chapters" it downloaded & can resume at the first non-full chapter). When you are using just wifi (or just LTE) you can only download one chapter at a time. But when you combine the two radios, you can download two different chapters at the same time. In your case, the wifi section will download 6-15x faster so for every 6 chapters you get via wifi you get one via LTE. That means you're going to cut download time by 1/6th. Depending on the file size, that could be next to nothing, or a considerable amount of time...

        • Cory

          I get over 6 megs with Sprint everywhere I go. Not slow at all. And you are leaving out core detail that with Softbank now in charge and the spectrum Sprint has they will have the fastest and most powerful network.

      • Cory

        Sprint's LTE is not slow.

      • UMA_Fan

        But Sprint has other plans now that charge data overages. In fact they've been aggressively pushing their 'framily' plans which charge overages whenever they hit their limit.

  • Tuấn Ankh

    "However, it has the potential to use a lot of LTE data, which is probably what the carriers don't like."
    I thought those 3 biggest carriers actually loved it. I mean, they cap data and all. Isn't T-mobile the only one that offers truly unlimited 4G LTE data? And removing this feature won't really help anyway. If people want, they can just turn turn of wifi and download with LTE only, which at the end will mean even more mobile data being used.

    Anyway, these carriers are just so annoying. xD

    • Frettfreak

      Carriers suck (tmo aint that bad though) but the reason for all the caps and what not is for the bandwidth, not to get overages... overages are just a fringe benefit!! lol

    • Zomby2D

      I guess they could end up with disgruntled customers complaining about their data overuse bill while they "always downloaded form home on the wifi"

  • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

    Not sure what Sprint's excuse it, but it makes sense for the others since they don't have unlimited data. I imagine this makes it much harder for the customer to monitor their data usage and would lead to a lot of complaints about limits being reached.

  • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

    "it has the potential to use a lot of LTE data, which is probably what the carriers don't like."

    I was thinking the opposite is true. Say a user downloads 4GB worth of data every month. If he downloads it entirely on LTE, he uses 4GB of data. If he uses the download booster, he uses LTE only partially; i.e. much less than 4GB. Right? So, I didn't get how it has the potential to use a lot of LTE data. Please explain.

    • bpear96

      Because when a user is at home and connected to wifi, No carrier data would be used. But with this feature when the user is home, LTE and Wifi network is combined using up carrier data that would go unused and be on WIFI only. This is really only useful for those with unlimted data, and those who do would hate their customers using this. But good on t-mobile for not blocking it.

  • Adam Jewl

    Android updates are necessary but http://goo.gl/MgPmPw

  • ProductFRED

    Because Sprint's network truthfully can't handle it (solution is to speed up network upgrades, not cripple a feature), and AT&T and Verizon want to limit HOW you can use your data. What's the difference between using Download Booster and downloading completely over LTE? If anything, it will REDUCE data use.

    T-Mobile, on the other hand, is the only carrier that understands that it's a dumb pipe. That is, data = data; they just connect me to the Internet without dictating what I can and can't do.

    • David Hart

      Everything you said is true.

  • Sean

    I'm sure rooted users could find this on XDA

  • Tyler Nelson

    I work at us cellular and I was told that the us cellular version will have it previously stated in the update and the att version will receive the feature in an update.

  • Dominic Scatto

    Any phone can get this sort of feature. Search XDA for Super Download and grab the free apk. Works pretty much same.

    • Matthew Fry

      Nice! I'll give it a go. Thanks.

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  • paxmos

    Sometimes there are no words to describe how we feel about some people. Thank God, He gave us the middle finger.

  • Guest

    Awww, Americans and their stupid carrier system.

  • solbin

    Wonder why the providers don't want this on there. Unlimited data is mostly a thing of the past for two of the largest providers. It would be more profitable for Verizon and AT&T to keep this on there.

  • Android Developer

    Why don't they want more people to use their networks?
    Doesn't it mean more people will pay more money?
    It doesn't make sense...

  • jgemberton

    My suspicion is that Verizon's network is severely over subscribed, and to maintain their "most reliable network" status, they would prefer users to use only wi-fi whenever available, to keep their backbone as uncongested as possible. The little annoying "wi-fi network available" pop-up sort of backs this up.

    • UMA_Fan

      This is pretty close to the truth. Also Verizon's low band spectrum is great for rural coverage and building penetration but horrible for capacity.

  • My Galaxy Prime

    I have vzw and even tho I don't get the booster, I get service in most places including the nyc subway system and it's always quick. The S5 is a beauty and even without the booster, it's still a great phone

  • Bob

    When will the Sprint Galaxy S5 have the Wi-Fi calling ability that the Samsung S4 now has?

    • UMA_Fan

      If you need WiFi calling why not just switch to Tmobile which has been doing it for years a lot better anyway?

  • Cory

    Don't see why Sprint would remove it. They do offer unlimited after all. Could understand them having it turn off by default. I still don't see the point in it. Seems stupid.

    • UMA_Fan

      Because in a desperate attempt to compete Sprint is pushing framily plans hard and at their entry level charge data overages.

  • gordon brown

    Samsung’s new Android flagship comes with a built-in ‘Download Booster’ mode that basically allows you to downloads large files (over 30MB) using both your Wi-Fi connection and cellular network at the same time, combining their bandwidth for zippier downloads. . This will come in handy, especially for users who are in a hurry to download a big file.

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