Carriers block Samsung Galaxy S5 Download Booster feature

by: Shawn IngramApril 11, 2014

samsung galaxy s5 download booster screenshot

When Samsung first announced the Galaxy S5 one of the big software features it touted was Download Booster, a feature that uses both Wi-Fi and LTE to make downloading files faster, but as with so many things, most U.S. carriers block the feature on their versions of the phone.

AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon all block the Download Booster on their models of the Galaxy S5. T-Mobile is the only big four carrier that supports the feature. U.S. Cellular also allows the feature, for those who live in the regional carrier’s service area.

Presumably the feature is turned off so it doesn’t put a strain on LTE networks. Verizon doesn’t give a reason as to why it blocks the feature on the Galaxy S5, but does confirm it’s “not currently supported” in the Q&A section of its product page. For its part, Sprint omitted any mention of the feature from its user manual for the Galaxy S5.

Unfortunately, it isn’t the least bit surprising that carriers have blocked the feature. U.S. carriers have a history of blocking features in smartphones. AT&T notably blocked FaceTime over cellular on the iPhone 4S, and later blocked video chat in Hangouts for Android, though it reversed course on both over time.

There’s an argument to be made that the feature was turned off so users don’t accidentally use too much of their limited data plans. There are ways around that by making the feature opt-in, or warning users about it, but three of the major carriers chose to just remove it instead.

The good news is if the lack of the Download Booster feature bothers you, it’s relatively easy to switch to T-Mobile so you can use it.

Does the lack of Download Booster on the Galaxy S5? Would it make you switch to a carrier that supports it?

  • T-Mobile FTW….Again!

    • They’re doing a lot of the right things. And they’re winning.

      • WitnessG

        Now if they could manage to put out updates faster, that would be awesome.

      • jeff

        How ?

        • On a Clear Day

          I know that you can prove anything you want with statistics and numbers, but if we are to believe the reports coming in about the numbers of new customers T-Mobile is getting – and the other carriers are losing – especially Sprint and AT&T – it shows they are doing something right. Consequently “the market’ – that ineffable, ephemeral entity that Adam Smith says is always making the right decision about what is good and bad, naughty and nice in terms of value – seems to be thinking highly of T-Mobile.

          Add to this the fact that every time you turn around they come out with a new plan that addresses problems their competitors have institutionalized – and even suggested are virtues – and what you are seeing is a company that isn’t afraid to make changes that are meaningful and put their money where their mouth is – rather than just paying lip service to the concept of giving value.

          They are winning over more and more people because they have chosen to attack and not stop attacking; not interested “in holding their position” but advancing. (Reference to General George S. Patton who said – at least in the movie – “I do not want to hear we are ‘holding our position” – let the other side hold their position, WE are advancing!”

          Must be no fun being the execs of the big three right now – actually being forced to compete rather than just quietly divide up the market as before.

      • communicationbreakdown92

        Yes they are. I’ve never been happier with a carrier than I am now with T-Mobile. Switched from Verizon last year and have never looked back.

  • DW Duck

    I’m glad I’m with TMO. I have 40mb downloads and 15mb uploads. Add some sweet Wi-Fi and shots like angry birds go and other large files will download wicked fast

    • jeff

      Im hitting 45 up and 28 down on verizon but the co. itself sucks. They say the reason is so ppl want use up their data plan hell thats where they make a bundle of cash. JMO SG4

      • DW Duck

        I think you have your speeds listed backwards

    • communicationbreakdown92

      Not to mention the UNLIMITED LTE!! I love it!! I almost never use Wifi anymore because why bother? My TMO 4G is so much faster. I regularly use between 12-16GB of data in a month. Streaming music and videos to my heart’s content. I’m so glad to be rid of Verizon, those thieves charged me $15 for an overage of 2.2 MB on my 2GB data plan.

      PLUS I absolutely love JUMP!

  • Emanuel Berrios

    Thank god I’m with T Mobile

    • communicationbreakdown92

      That makes two of us.

  • SoMuchDeterminationDoe

    nothing a lil cymod cant fix

    • mikegonzalez2k

      The crappy thing is Verizon will try to prevent that too by making it extremely hard to root phones. Look what they did with the Galaxy S4. It’s so locked down now cuz of Knox, I’m beginning to hate Verizon’s policies.

      • SoMuchDeterminationDoe

        gotta love there coverage tho..

    • jeff

      U r right!

  • Siddharth Shukla

    I don’t think that this is fair. They do not have to completely remove the feature from all of their smartphones. They should allow users to have a choice. At least they should have an option where it is a hard find in the settings so that most users wouldn’t get it anyways. I’m going to have to buy the unlocked version of this phone if I want to use it on AT&T. Otherwise I’ll see what the LG G3 has and buy it.

  • Rob

    Decided not to get it just because they do not allow it

    • jeff

      Im on a s4 so I will wait for the next note to come out.

  • Alex Ohannes

    This is yet another reason the days of rooting aren’t yet over! :)

  • Otto Andersson

    USA phone companies need to be taught a lesson and knocked down a peg. You don’t see this garbage in other countries, even when those countries only have 2 or 3 carries.

    I can’t believe after the 4 years I’ve been away from America, they still impose restrictions on tethering!

    I think it’s time for consumers do be a lot more vocal. I don’t even live in the country, but I’m going to personally call Verizon and complain

    • On a Clear Day

      This is what happens when you have companies more focused on keeping themselves and their bottom lines happy than on doing their damndest to figure ways to make their customers’ happy.

      But, this is a good thing actually – for T-Mobile at least – just one more differentiating characteristic that helps set them apart; making it easier for anyone who isn’t interested in being dictated to – or locked into a contract – to choose T-Mobile over the rest.

  • StraightEdgeNexus

    Woah #fanboyismAtItsBest. Lots of sammy haters. No way lcd beats amoled, no way ultragimmickpixel beats 16mp camera, build quality and design i prefer removable battery. One is only a beautiful phone though nothing else.

  • Shark Bait

    10 years time, America will be ran by the phone company’s. These guys seriously have you by the balls!

  • endy

    Gosh, I want to say something to any Verizon and ATT readers: if you live in an area where TMo has coverage, you are an idiot not to switch. TMo is 1000x better than Verz and ATT…and I personally work for ATT, so I can make that comment. If you keep using those two, you are just throwing away money.

    • endy2

      i agree with you for i too work for them

    • Jordan Guillot

      I would love to switch, but the coverage in my area is literally non existent. You can barely get EDGE coverage.

    • communicationbreakdown92

      I live in Los Angeles, and the coverage here is great. I’ve never been happier than with TMO. Verizon stole my money for the last time last year, and I haven’t looked back since switching nor will I.

      It really is a shame for those whose areas aren’t covered well by T-Mobile.

  • Groud Frank

    I never understood why Americans have this love affair with post paid or contract plans. I will take pre paid any day. Sure, there is the inconvenience of having to pay full price for the phone and having to manually put minutes on it but I think that is a much better option than enslaving yourself to a two year contract along with an “obsolete” phone. I use what I pay for and my “bill” never has any suprises. I always buy unlocked phone. I am by no means rich but I save for what I want. I can take my non carrier branded phone almost anywhere in the world and use it without asking permission from any carrier.

    • Mike Reid

      2 words: “Credit culture”.

      Aka: Living the “American dream” (on credit.)

      Credit culture has also slipped north and south of the US border, to here in Canada and to Mexico. One of those “cultural exports” I guess, LOL.

      Me, I’m happy with Pay as you go for $10 a month, with grandfathered data.

  • Herpy Derpy

    Carriers should also be banned from putting their own branded bloatcrap onto the firmware! (*cough *cough ATT)

  • Herpy Derpy

    I’m sure there will be a root workaround for any crap the carriers try to pull.

  • Good thing I don’t live in the USA so this doesn’t affect me one bit.

  • James

    Fucking US politics, we’re supposed to be a free nation yet
    we have some of the most restrictive policies because of big corporations
    controlling the government

  • communicationbreakdown92

    T-Mobile is dominating the mobile carrier game once again!! Now if they could only get more stock of the Black S5 or the M8 so I can upgrade, but oh well I’m willing to deal with almost anything for the freedom they provide me with data and upgrades!