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  • iPhone 3g Reception Problems
    How's your reception?

    While the iPhone has been a great success in sales during its first month with 3 million unit sold, the 3g phone has been hampered by problems from iTunes activation failing to cracks in the casing.

    Add another issue to the list. Service. Many users are reporting issues with connectivity and their 3g iPhones. The an Francisco Chronicle reported the issues of one user. "I was driving down Folsom Street in San Francisco, and I got a dropped call 10 times. I get dropped calls just standing in one place," said Yarbrough, a 34-year-old accountant. "I'm extremely annoyed, but I'm hopeful a software update will fix it."

    Mobile carriers of the iPhone 3g have conflicting comments concerning the situation. AT&T Spokesman Mike Siegel summed up AT&T's response that there is no real widespread evidence of an issue. "How a device performs in individual situations depends on circumstances like where you are in the 3G coverage, how close you are to a cell site. Things like terrain and buildings all come into play," Siegel said. "I'm not denying that people are having a less than satisfactory experience, but overall, the phone is doing great."

    On the other hand T-Mobile Netherlands is putting blame for the connection issues directly upon the iPhone itself. "The 3G coverage of T-Mobile is as good as the competition, there can therefore not lie. We suspect that it is a hardware / software specific issue of the iPhone itself."

    T-Mobiles statement appears to follow the theory speculated by Nomura analyst Richard Windsor in a note to his clients about the iPhone's 3g chipset. Windsor said that “We believe that these issues are typical of an immature chipset and radio protocol stack where we are almost certain Infineon is the 3G supplier"

    If the problem does in fact stem from an immature chipset then the issue will most likely not be able to be fixed via a software. This would leave Apple in the awkward position of replacing over 3 million iPhones or not acknowledging any issues to the detriment of its users.

    Do you have reception problems? Take our poll at the top of this thread.

    [via cnet gigaom cnet cnet some more cnet and so forth]

    Update: Fix May be coming
    This article was originally published in forum thread: iPhone 3g Reception Problems started by Cody Overcash View original post
    Comments 82 Comments
    1. 461am's Avatar
      461am -
      Not just reception issues, plain old sim issues. I've been stuck a countless number of times with a 'no sim' sign. Once even inside an apple store, had to borrow a pin from them to take it out and put it back in, at which point it started working again. =/

      I'm starting to lose faith, apple.
    1. jordbrett's Avatar
      jordbrett -
      the reception on my phone and my gf's phone is less than sub par. We don't get service on certain floors of the apt building we live in. Yet my old iPhone had service just about everywhere. Even side by side comparisons show the old iPhone had better service.
    1. joshysquashy's Avatar
      joshysquashy -
      I live in the UK. I get 3G everywhere in my home town. Elsewhere, its Edge, or occasionally plain old GPRS.

      Signal is normally full or one bar down. Sometimes it is low (1 bar), but I can still make and receive calls and have never had one dropped, yet.

      I couldn't ask for signal to be better. Does this issue not affect the UK? Does this mean it is a problem with certain operators?

      Whatever the issue, I am sure they will fix it, just glad it doesn't affect me!
    1. jvallesteros's Avatar
      jvallesteros -
      man, what is going on? hopefully there'll be updates to fix this issue. i'm still rolling with the 2g iphone and it's never seen problems like the 3g has.
    1. sikdaz's Avatar
      sikdaz -
      that's why im sticking with my 2G..
    1. Ravenus's Avatar
      Ravenus -
      Yea, honestly, the 3G is f@$king bogus!! It was a genius ploy to sell a crap load more phones and all they had to do is have a semi working network, so they could say, hey, we have towers, so it works. YEA, WELL YOU KNOW WHAT APPLE??? IT DOES NOT F@#KING WORK!!! I don't even bother turning it on because if I do my calls are guaranteed to drop 20 million times and seriously, how can they even say it's faster? It's a piece of crap. So fix it, or stop saying it's a faster network. I was happier with my first gen phone.
    1. mwr_allen's Avatar
      mwr_allen -
      I have a 3G iPhone on O2-UK contract and when I turn on the 3G in settings/general/network, my normal signal drops from 4-5 bars straight down to 1 and sometimes 0.

      I took it into an O2 store last week and when I showed him the phone the woman next to him said "why does it say BT Genie as the carrier? this has been hacked" so it gave me great satisfaction to explain the history of O2 to an O2 employee and that O2 used to be called BT Genie up to about 6 years ago, She quickly shut up, ha ha, although my iPhone 3G had actually been pwnd previously

      Anyway the guy told me to come back when they have more in stock but this would just be pointless because the issue would be the same.

      Can anyone post their comments if they have both an iPhone 3G and also a 3G nokia phone or a blackberry and check what the signal is like in both phones in exactly the same place? that would be interesting.
    1. 05VIII's Avatar
      05VIII -
      Yo! What's up..first post!! Felt like i should take part in this.I don't kno what choice to pick in the poll Cus I get horrible reception in most places when 3g is turned on, but when 3g is turned off I get full bars..no matter where I'm at. Let's start a poll bout lagging and crashing.. My safari has crashed 4 times n completely froze the phone 2 times as I was typing this...YEAAAA!!! Gotta love it!!
    1. LaZARuZ's Avatar
      LaZARuZ -
      I love my 3G it's great. I have a very nice white screen no cracks and great reception. I know my area don't have full 3G it's has weak spots and I'm in one. I get no bars with 3G turn on and I still can make calls and surf the net np. I live in Fremont ca. I can tell you this apple made the wifi weaker. When I say weaker I mean it won't see lots of wifi signals. Exp. I know I have someone in my block with wifi and I can use it. My 2G iPhone can see it and conect easy but have to go outside but my 3G iPhone can't see it. It's a weak wifi signal but if my 2G can see it why can't my 3G? No big deal for me but something to think about it. Yeah still love my iPhone.
    1. nickh's Avatar
      nickh -
      Very disappointed with 3G coverage in Australia, live in the so called 3G zone 1 bar, work in the CBD and 1 bar. 9 times out of 10 i have 3G turned off, just to make or receive a call, wish now i stayed with my first gen.
    1. tobypu's Avatar
      tobypu -
      I have issues with signal all the time. My wife has a 3G Blackjack on the AT&T network and her phone is constantly getting a better a signal than my 3G iPhone. I would venture to say that its a hardware/software issue and not a network issue.

      I also get errors all the time saying that the phone cannot connect to the data network. I have to reboot every time and then it starts working. Annoying!
    1. sonex's Avatar
      sonex -
      i live in nz.. have 0 problems with reception. Always on max bars except places where it normally goes down as it did on my old phone. I dont use 3g much but when i do i get 3+ bars which is all i need.
    1. sobeniceguy2's Avatar
      sobeniceguy2 -
      I thought I would put my 2 cents worth in on the subject. I live in Miami Beach Fl and I can honestly say my reception is ok. Given that I am in a metropolitan area. It will go from 2-3 bars on 3g network and 3-5 on the edge network on the beach.Wifi is actually better that the 2g phone. The 2g phone reception was about the same with regard to the edge network.

      Now when I go to work I get max signal on both networks. Geography and buildings often hinder reception on any phone so I try to keep that in mind.

      I did do a side by side comparison edge network was the same at home and at work with both 2g and 3g iphones. So go figure. I have heard of a product called I-Tena that I just purchased online will see if that will improve signal strength. I am not promoting the product but if it works then I will lol. Regardless I guess I am ok with it.
    1. D.J.C.'s Avatar
      D.J.C. -
      I had signal issues in the past. I took my phone to AT&T and asked for a new SIM and that corrected my problems. My wife has a BB Curve and gets worse reception than I do now. I still do get bad reception in my apartment, But I always have with any phone. As far as people fussing about other issues, I had a lot of problems with lagging and apps shutting down. Keep in mind you are using a hand-held computer, you need to reboot after installing programs. After I installed 2.0.1 my contacts now come up instantly and my keyboard doesn't lag.
    1. gooseliu2003's Avatar
      gooseliu2003 -
      same here in Hong Kong, the 3g network is ****!!! safari always quit with a sudden!!! very disapponted with both iphone and the service provider in HK!!!
    1. Dice-K's Avatar
      Dice-K -
      I travel a lot around the Europe and never had any troubles with my iPhone 3g nor signal reception...
      _______________________
      Jailbreak iPhone 3g with 2.0.1 firmware.
    1. babybia175's Avatar
      babybia175 -
      ever since the new phone came out i started having issues with my 1st gen phone... maybe it's just me but my signal is weaker and i also get less of a signal strength for wifi. wtf did they do this time.
    1. diem0n's Avatar
      diem0n -
      my 3g isn't good. It shows one bar on 3g but at the same time could not activate network connection... I live in Philadelphia PA with AT&T, 2.0pwned. I think may be 2.1 will fix this? Apple will file for bancrupcy if they have to replace all 3Gs...
    1. fletch33's Avatar
      fletch33 -
      Quote Originally Posted by cash7c3 View Post
      the 3g phone has been hampered by problems from iTunes activation failing to cracks in the casing.
      i have activated 2 3G's including one at 10am the day of launch and didn't have any activation or itunes problems

      Quote Originally Posted by cash7c3 View Post
      Add another issue to the list. Service. Many users are reporting issues with connectivity and their 3g iPhones. The an Francisco Chronicle reported the issues of one user. "I was driving down Folsom Street in San Francisco, and I got a dropped call 10 times. I get dropped calls just standing in one place," said Yarbrough, a 34-year-old accountant. "I'm extremely annoyed, but I'm hopeful a software update will fix it."
      if it wasn't for the launch of the 3G for me to test to see if they had improved reception i was GONE from the iPhone. my 2G was the worst reception i have ever had dating back to my bag phone and im not kidding my old bag (early 1990's) phone had better reception.

      i live in the cincinnati area and travel both by car and plane up and down the US east of the mississippi and when driving my 2G was almost useless if i wasnt in a major city and even then i dropped 10% of my calls. i also went thru 4 2 2G iPhones so i know it wasnt my phone but the entire line of 2G's.

      i have a HUGE collection of phones both CDMA and GSM and to test my coverage i would often carry a second phone for traveling so i know i could get a call in, and i would often have ZERO bars on the iPhone in a given area while driving and i would throw my sim card into my moto Q9H and would have 4 BARS and this wasn't just every once in awhile but all the time. i would find myself sitting in a restaurant in a major downtown area like Louisville, KY and i would have no service and 2 of my work associates would have NO SERVICE (iphones as well) and my wife with an old KRAZR would have 4 BARS. how can that be?

      whether it was a bad radio apple choose or the metal casing or a combination of both the 2G was a 9 of 10 as a device and a 3 of 10 as a phone and as i mentioned i was done with it all together until heard of the launch of the 3G with a new radio unit.

      the phone is the most important part and everything else is gravy.

      my 3G:

      i have now had a chance to travel from Tennessee to Chicago with my 3G and this involved planes and cars and major cities and the backlands and there is no doubt a major improvement in reception with the 3G whether i was on edge or 3G it was much better.

      however :

      it is still THE WORST reception of any phone i have had in the last 5 years. although my dropped calls have decreased 80% over the 2G i have stilled dropped more calls with the 3G since its launch date than i did in the last 5 years with previous carriers and phones.

      i am glad to see improvement and i hope that it continues with the next edition because as i mentioned although i love this device but making calls is #1 and i will switch in a minute as much as it hurts if i feel it doesnt give me a quality reception.

      Quote Originally Posted by cash7c3 View Post
      "How a device performs in individual situations depends on circumstances like where you are in the 3G coverage, how close you are to a cell site. Things like terrain and buildings all come into play," Siegel said. "I'm not denying that people are having a less than satisfactory experience, but overall, the phone is doing great."
      BOLOGNA BOLOGNA BOLOGNA!!!!

      this is just ridiculous. i will admit that i was shocked to not read about bad reception everywhere i went during the 2G lifetime but it was rarely addressed. EVERY single traveling or even stay at home educated phone person i know admitted that they loved their iphone but the reception and dropped calls were the worst they could remember from any of their recent phones.

      cell site, terrain, buildings, etc... do play a part but the whole "overall satisfaction" was smoke and mirrors with the excitement of an Apple phone and the fact that most of the buyers had never had a smart/pda phone and were blinded to the reception by the giant glare of all the things it could. anyone that had been using and hacking pda/smart phones for years and were not overexcited by the fact that it was an apple product could quickly see it was a great device but missing more than a few key features they had been used to for years including reception.

      Quote Originally Posted by cash7c3 View Post
      On the other hand T-Mobile Netherlands is putting blame for the connection issues directly upon the iPhone itself. "The 3G coverage of T-Mobile is as good as the competition, there can therefore not lie. We suspect that it is a hardware / software specific issue of the iPhone itself."

      T-Mobiles statement appears to follow the theory speculated by Nomura analyst Richard Windsor in a note to his clients about the iPhone's 3g chipset. Windsor said that “We believe that these issues are typical of an immature chipset and radio protocol stack where we are almost certain Infineon is the 3G supplier"

      GOOD FOR YOU T-MOBILE!!!!!

      if only AT&T had the kahunas to admit that the iphone has tremendously more reception problems than the rest of the phones they carried.

      Quote Originally Posted by cash7c3 View Post
      If the problem does in fact stem from an immature chipset then the issue will most likely not be able to be fixed via a software. This would leave Apple in the awkward position of replacing over 3 million iPhones or not acknowledging any issues to the detriment of its users.
      my opinion is that it is a hardware issue that can not be fixed by a software update and with 30 million in app sales alone there is NO WAY that AT&T or Apple will ever replace them or even admit there is a problem. hopefully they will just continue to make it better.

      as i mentioned earlier just like the 2G the 3G has a majority of new comers to the smart/pda phone world and until now they didnt know a phone could do all this and thought of smart/pda phones as a business device and were not aware of the other amazing things they could do. this again leads to the smoke and mirrors approach and as long as the consumers just see of the new cool features they will tend to ignore or not worry about the occasional dropped calls that should be their #1 concern with their phone.
    1. Rosbaughcr's Avatar
      Rosbaughcr -
      My fiance still has the 1st gen iPhone, and no matter where we go she has 1 or 2 more bars than I do. Also, I drop a call once a day or so now, which never happened to me before. Lastly, my phone randomly doesn't ring, it just vibrates, even without it being silenced.