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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. iBwizzle's Avatar
      iBwizzle -
      YES! Thank you God this is happenin' to Apple! Apple and AT&T are two greedy faggots! I pray that it is an hardware problem so they have to replace the 3 milli 3G iPhones sold! Apple should have continue sellin' the first gen iPhones and just released another version worth upgradin' to! A front camera, higher resolution, a better GPS, A2DP Bluetooth, copy and paste, mms and 32/64GB models! I got my mind made up, I'm stickin' to my first gen! Class Action Suit?

      ____________________________________________
      We are not the same, I am a hater...
    1. DuRo's Avatar
      DuRo -
      How i get different reception just walking around the house , the room full bar , the living room 2 bars. who's to blame Apple or AT&T. But I'm in apple's favor i think at&t its to blame for various reason.
    1. dooley19's Avatar
      dooley19 -
      I'm laying on the couch typing this now and I got one bar on 3G and it jumps to full bars for a few minutes and back down to 2 and 3 bars then 1 bar! I'm getting tired of this.
    1. fletch33's Avatar
      fletch33 -
      I just pay no attention to those stupid bars. That will just frustrate ya. Seriously I don't care if shows 1 bar, 5 bars, or even 0 bars as long as it works and doesn't say no service. I think part of the problem is the "bars" and what actual service your getting anyway.
    1. scudder's Avatar
      scudder -
      Quote Originally Posted by mwr_allen View Post
      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.
      Whoa! How do you still get Genie coming up, is that a 6 YO sim? If so it cant be 3G. Of course, being an old git I remember Genie, I also remember when it was BT Wireless!
    1. SPECIFIKLYVAGUE's Avatar
      SPECIFIKLYVAGUE -
      I'm about to throw this damn thing in a box for 3 months while they figure it out....
      Bakersfield, ca....I used to have FULL BARS 94% of the time with my 2G, right now, on my 3G, I intentionally have 3G off, so I'm on edge & it seems to be working normal enough,....but it is definately the phone + the network, I have the 3g wireless aircard for one of my laptops, side by side, the 3G is PATHETIC....keeps saying "no service" while on 3g when it's kicking down to edge, then can't seem to decide which network is better...
      Also, I noticed ANY large objects, walls, human body, radio, my plasma tv, all but kill the 3g reception........this sucks!!
      Almost like running an quad-core CPU & having a 56k modem as your connection....errors galore?!!!! Dropped calls, etc, etc....
    1. crnxlf's Avatar
      crnxlf -
      Quote Originally Posted by SPECIFIKLYVAGUE View Post
      I'm about to throw this damn thing in a box for 3 months while they figure it out....
      Bakersfield, ca....I used to have FULL BARS 94% of the time with my 2G, right now, on my 3G, I intentionally have 3G off, so I'm on edge & it seems to be working normal enough,....but it is definately the phone + the network, I have the 3g wireless aircard for one of my laptops, side by side, the 3G is PATHETIC....keeps saying "no service" while on 3g when it's kicking down to edge, then can't seem to decide which network is better...
      Also, I noticed ANY large objects, walls, human body, radio, my plasma tv, all but kill the 3g reception........this sucks!!
      Almost like running an quad-core CPU & having a 56k modem as your connection....errors galore?!!!! Dropped calls, etc, etc....
      Modesto, CA here and on my 2g I had full bars almost 100% of the time, now I have 1 to 2 bars now, I got kinda lucky and stretched my arms with my phone in my hand and was able to grace upon 3 bars but when I moved my arms back to normal position I lost it. But as for people saying they lose calls, knock on wood, no dropped calls for me as of yet. I get ****** signal but the calls all seem to go ok.
    1. nahart86's Avatar
      nahart86 -
      I had really ****** service so I traded my phone in and got a new one which is a little better but not much.
    1. DaveiPhone's Avatar
      DaveiPhone -
      My 3G reception was so bad that I returned my phone back in August. After reading of significant improvements with firmware 2.1, I decided to give it another try. The difference is night and day. Spots that had ZERO bars before, now have 3-4 bars and clear reception. I'm starting to suspect that they made a silent hardware change around the same time, though this is a tough thing to prove since I don't have access to any older 3G phones.
    1. bhz1's Avatar
      bhz1 -
      upgrading to 2.1 fixed all the signal problems for me.
    1. skipper's Avatar
      skipper -
      I had the original iPhone up until about a month ago and it never gave me the problems that the 3g gives me. I got the 3g late enough that it came with 2.1 installed already, but that still didnt do anything. I still drop more calls than I ever did, less bars in more places, etc.

      WTF apple/at&t???! I want to say its an overloaded 3g network, but people here are talking about how much the software changes/changes in sim cards worked for them. I dont get it, what is the missing link?!

      If I ask at&t for another sim, would they need to see my phone (in a very modified state) to give me another one? If so, im sure theyll pull the "we cant do anything if your phone is jailbroken" card on me.
    1. Lancaster's Avatar
      Lancaster -
      Reception on the 2G is poorer than when I use the same sim in a number of different phones at the same location (my office). The iPhone is easily the worst for reception. Some of the phones I tried are:

      HTC Diamond
      Nokia 6300
      A couple of older Smartphones.

      I think I know the reason why.

      The iPhone reception in my office is just about non existant - usually no signal. As soon as I put it in the charging cradle, I get a signal and I can send and receive texts.

      I believe that Apple have reduced the power available to the receiver when it is running on battery to extend battery life. The problem is, they seem to have overdone it.

      I would rather live with a reduced battery life and have a better signal personally.
    1. tom q's Avatar
      tom q -
      I was running 1.1.4 on 2G with perfect signal in Modesto, CA. I upgraded recently to 2.1, jailbroke it, installed apps, etc. Now I have 1 - 2 bars and a lot of dropped calls. I don't think it's a problem with the unit (2G or 3G), it is definitely a firmware issue. Can the DEV's come up with a fix for this?
    1. pncntigger's Avatar
      pncntigger -
      I have had both 2g and 3g phones on TMobile. Never had any issues with reception or dropped calls.
    1. Lancaster's Avatar
      Lancaster -
      @ pncntigger:

      Have you never been in any areas of borderline reception?
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      My reception on 3G is quite good, but there are often little chirps and beeps when talking to another person who is on the 3G network as well. They are loud and irritating. It is not an issue when talking to someone on the Edge network.
    1. reyza's Avatar
      reyza -
      Mines working pretty solid on 3G. It's got 5bars majority of the time, even in my basement. Signal is partly due to the carrier as well.
    1. radiomean's Avatar
      radiomean -
      Hmmm..

      I have later model iPhone 3G on Voda ;-) in UK and get 5-4 bars in the country on GSM..
      When I go up to town, and it goes 3G (or really HSDPA) it obviously switches over and again I get 3-5 bars.

      I am on 2.2 FW and I can't say I have had signal issues.
      I use it a lot for data and even in the train it seems to work fine.
      There does not really seem to be an issue with my unit..

      Maybe (I hesitate to say it....) it is an issue with the 3G networks in the USA being much less mature than in UK and Eu.

      Oh I have an HTC TyTN 2 as well and signals seem pretty comparable, swapping over SIMs..
    1. BenzoHartt's Avatar
      BenzoHartt -
      Recently AT&T advised me that i would need a replacement SIM card. I went to the corporate store to get it replaced yesterday. Has anyone else had to do this? Did it have any affect?
    1. radiomean's Avatar
      radiomean -
      Hi all,

      As title, sorry but you need to know this - I expect you do..

      2G = GSM and works on 800/900/1800/1900 MHz with one modulation scheme (you don't want to know but Google it..)

      3G = UMTS / 3.5 G = HSPDA (High Speed Download Packet Access, capable of 3.6 to 7.2 meg - I have measured 2 meg in London).
      3G runs on 850/1900/2100 Mhz with a *totally different* modulation scheme..

      Generally speaking:

      Higher frequencies penetrate solid material (ie brick, concrete etc) less well -- BUT sneak into buildings via windows better due to shorter wavelengths. Higher frequencies also tend to 'carry' less well from the transmitter as they are absorbed more strongly.

      So - when you switch 2G to 3G it is chalk vs cheese..
      You will likely be using a different BS, certainly be accessing a different transmitter even if the same BS and the radio propagation on 3G will likely be worse.

      In the USA (sorry) as 3G is less well developed it would be expected the situation changing from a good 2G to a bad 3G signal is NO surprise, and in rural UK (as in rural USA) there are (and I am sure will remain) vast areas with NO 3G coverage..

      So - there you have it - it is easy to blame the phone and you may be right but there are a lot more issues as I am sure many of you know..

      End of lecture

      BTW I have no 2G / 3G problems here in UK!

      PS I am a radio amateur (HAM for US) and have also worked in Radio so I do know a bit what I am talking about.. ;-)