Apple, AT&T look into iPhone 3G connection issues | iLounge News

Apple, AT&T look into iPhone 3G connection issues

Numerous reports indicate that Apple and AT&T are investigating a rash of iPhone 3G connection problems affecting some handsets. A San Francisco Chronicle article tells the story of one iPhone user, who claims to have had ongoing connection problems with the 3G. “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 Stephen Yarbrough, a 34-year-old accountant. “I’m extremely annoyed, but I’m hopeful a software update will fix it.” Later in the piece, AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said that while customer concerns were being looked into, it is difficult to know if they are widespread or related to individual circumstances. “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.”

CNet staffer Tom Krazit points to an Apple discussion thread on the topic, noting that iPhone 3G users are having trouble connecting, and staying connected, to 3G networks, with the phone switching between 3G and EDGE networks even when sitting still. In addition, Krazit notes that international iPhone 3G users are reporting similar problems, suggesting the issue lies with the handset as opposed to the network. Finally, Nomura analyst Richard Windsor has said in a note to clients that the problem may stem from an immature chipset from Infineon. “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,” Windsor wrote, adding that because the problems are likely to be embedded in the low-level software and the chipset, a firmware upgrade is unlikely to fix the problem. Are you experiencing connection problems with your iPhone 3G? Let us know in the comments below. [via MDN]

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I have had nothing but connection problems with my iPhone 3G.

The first problem is that AT&T;‘s coverage map is a BIG FAT LIE!!!  According to them, my entire town, as well as all surrounding towns are in the “best” coverage area, getting full 3G access.  NOT EVEN CLOSE.  Plus, when you call AT&T;to complain about that exact problem, the CSR will freely admit that the coverage map that they are looking at is different than the one that is on AT&T;‘s site (needless to say, the CSR’s map indicates that I am in “good” not “best” coverage.)

However, the second problem is definitely the handset.  Sitting in place you can watch the bars on your iPhone 3G fluctuate up and down…3G to Edge and back again.  Furthermore, AT&T;‘s 3G signal seemingly fails to remain connected when you are inside a building without copious amounts of windows.  Go to the bathroom at work?  Lose the 3G.  Step inside my home?  Lose the 3G.  I know that this is an issue with the handset because even when I switch the 3G off in my home and am fully on Edge I still get a horrible signal.  Outside? Full bars.  Inside?  Anywhere from a max of 3 bars to complete No Service.  Guests who have had Blackberries running on AT&T;‘s Edge network have NOT had the same connection issues in my home.

Posted by Dave G on August 12, 2008 at 11:46 AM (CDT)


By the way…in case anyone thinks that my connection problems are due to the fact that I live out in the hinterland…

I work in Times Square in NYC and live on the NJ side of the Hudson…I walk out my door and stare across the water at 105th St in NYC.

If AT&T;/Apple can’t provide ME with a decent signal where I live and work, what chance does anyone else in another part of the country have?

Posted by Dave G on August 12, 2008 at 11:48 AM (CDT)


i think the most troubling part of this article is the following…

“adding that because the problems are likely to be embedded in the low-level software and the chipset, a firmware upgrade is unlikely to fix the problem.”

that’s a HUGE problem should that end up correct. if that’s the case, what in the WORLD do Apple & ATT do?

Posted by luke on August 12, 2008 at 11:51 AM (CDT)


Im in Montreal, Canada. its a small island and carriers 3G coverage is well past the bouderies of the city. Still my 3g iphone switches to NO SERVICE at random intervals for no reason. Sometimes i just notified that i have a voicemail when the phone did not even ring , reason being it lost the signal and someone called and left a voicemail during that time.
FIDO is the carrier.
anyone else with this issue

Posted by Ali on August 12, 2008 at 11:56 AM (CDT)


I’m in San Francisco and experience the exact same issues. I drop calls even though I have a good signal and standing still. I constantly lose 3G service and switch to Edge, but can never get back on 3G. I always have to disable 3G/turn on-off Airport Mode/force restart iPhone in order to gain some type of service back. It’s most annoying when No Service stays on the screen for extended periods. (It’s incredibly annoying, and I’m betting that it’s AT&T;‘s fault.)

Posted by Justin R on August 12, 2008 at 11:58 AM (CDT)


No Service, dropped calls, same issue here in Western Mass.  I thought maybe it was the rash of storms we were having and the fact that around here its all hills and valleys but now that I read all this - WTF!  What Now?  If it is the chip inside - are they going to post a recall, or what.  I wait a year for the new 3G and this is what I get.  Maybe I should have stayed with Verizon :(

Posted by Markus on August 12, 2008 at 12:01 PM (CDT)


Hmm dunno-I live in the outskirts of Puget Sound and work in a Seattle suburb-3G seems pretty good everywhere I go-even in my house.

I will say that if I am in the MIDDLE of a building working-no where near a window, the phone may fall back to Edge-but that is by no means a given.  Edge speeds around here are too bad either-I do USUALLY get the advertised 150+ mps for data-and for phone calls, maybe I am half-deaf, but I can’t hear the difference for voice calls.

Posted by Enigmafan420 on August 12, 2008 at 12:06 PM (CDT)


Here in Tampa FL, my service has been great. Additionally I have traveled to suburban Chicago, Boise and Tucson and service was never an issue those places as well. Not discounting the problems anyone else has had, just commenting on mine. I do have concerns over the fact that placing my hand on the back of the phone (in a normal fashion) results in a loss of 2 bars from whatever my current signal is at. Makes me worried that if I did not start at a full signal, how would I use my phone? By laying it down and using speakerphone?

Posted by Jordan on August 12, 2008 at 12:24 PM (CDT)


I have a problem when my phone is set to 3G and I am in a non-3G area.  I will sometimes get no service.  But, if I turn off 3G in that area I begin to get bars again.

Posted by Ira on August 12, 2008 at 12:40 PM (CDT)


I’m in Los Angeles and in general I’ve been happy w/ the amount of 3G coverage. The only problem that I have is that when I go through 3G dead spots where EDGE is getting a good signal I get dropped calls.  Is this normal or should the phone be able to switch to EDGE mid-call?

Posted by Jonathan Badeen on August 12, 2008 at 12:59 PM (CDT)


I’ve been having tons and tons of dropped calls, failure to complete outgoing calls and stalling of 3G data on my iPhone 3G.  With my old Treo on VZW I rarely dropped a call and then only in the most extreme circumstances (in an underground bunker, etc.).  Now I drop calls daily, sometimes I have to redial 3, 4 or even 5 times.  I’ve also had to switch off 3G in order to get a data connection because even though I’ve got reception and I’m on the 3G network I’ve had several instances where I wasn’t actually getting any data.  When that happens Safari, Mail and all of my third party apps become useless.  They aren’t much better than useless when on EDGE.

I think I’m going to start calling AT&T;every time that I run into these problems.  Maybe that will get some answers.

Posted by Matt M on August 12, 2008 at 1:04 PM (CDT)


I picked up two iPhones last week - one for me, and one for my wife, on the ATT Family Plan.

Our reception at home was atrocious - hovering between no signal and 2 bars, and this in a Boston suburb that is colored “bright orange” on AT&T;‘s coverage map.

I use mine mostly for data, but my wife does not - thus the decision to return her phone (and go back to Verizon) last night.

Posted by gb on August 12, 2008 at 1:10 PM (CDT)


I have been through 3 Iphones, on my fourth now.  I am so frustrated I created a blog , http:/ where people have been logging their issues and posting their comments as to their 3G problems.

Tom Krazit, as mentioned above, from Cnet has started some data logging as well. His link is at the top of my web site. Please please please log your issue on my site and then head to Cnet’s link at the top of my page, as Cnet is collecting different data that will be interesting.

Posted by Matt Wakeling on August 12, 2008 at 1:11 PM (CDT)


I live in Frankfurt/Germany and I do experience the same “3G losing signal and switching to edge” problems with T-Mobile, even though my phone is lying in one place. Guess it’s the phone’s problem :(

Posted by Markus M on August 12, 2008 at 1:11 PM (CDT)


I have had my 3G phone for about 3 weeks now and have not had a single dropped call. At no time has the the iphone switched from 3G back to Edge anywhere in the Savannah service area.
It is true that in some places, there are fewer bars in the 3G mode than the Edge mode, but the call connection and quality is fine even with just one bar.

Posted by Chris S on August 12, 2008 at 1:22 PM (CDT)


i have to turn off 3g in order to get anything to work properly.  its probably the chipset - thus not fixable in current iphones.

Posted by ikeb on August 12, 2008 at 1:39 PM (CDT)


I’m in San Francisco, CA.  no connection problems whatsoever.  my 3G is perfect indoors and outdoors.  occasionally, the 3G drops to 3 bars in some buildings, but overall, it’s stays full.  EDGE is even stronger and stays full most of the time.  it MUST be the chips or whatever Apple’s manufacturing plant are doing.  my buddy Philip and i both have 16GB 3G’s and we haven’t experienced any issues, as well as other people we know with the 3G iPhone. 

man, i feel real bad that people are having these issues. 

it maybe a quality control issue…  like bad rash of chips, especially when Apple has high demands to keep up, so the poorer the quality control.  isn’t the iPhone manufactured overseas like China or something?  i hate to say this and i’m no racist, BUT, China is NOTORIOUS for having laxed quality control.  i’d blame those guys IF Apple does offshore the iPhones.

Posted by phongsta on August 12, 2008 at 1:45 PM (CDT)


I’m an owner of the original model iPhone. I have had experiences where my edge icon appears to try to use the 3G icon and it has twice. I don’t drop calls, but safari won’t download until it switches back to the edge icon all the way. Now, I purchased two iphone 3G models for my folks. They haven’t had any problems, but they switch between edge and 3G automatically. I always re-install my OS frequently to keep working smoothly, and I completely reset it at least every two days.

It could be a software issue seeing how I mistakingly got 3G on my original model some how and it showed the 3G icon twice. This evening I’ll see what happens since the new update.

ATT and incoming over head flights. We live under the direct path to an airport, with ATT I have always had dropping calls issues when flights come in. My iPhone signal gets low but calls don’t drop and conversations remain clear.

No doubt about it San Francisco muni “overhead” grids ALWAYS cause issues. No matter what phone or service I had, and forget about using the FM transmitters and these power grids.

Posted by marcus on August 12, 2008 at 1:52 PM (CDT)


I have had terrible problems with dropped calls in Greater Boston both 3G and Edge. On one occasion I stood in one place with 5 bars and had at least a dozen dropped calls in a row. Finally ocurred to me to switch off the 3G and then it was fine, but utterly infuriating. I hate to say it, but I had better coverage and fewer dropped calls with Sprint. Now that I know this is a common issue, I will place a complaint with AT&T;, however futile that may be.

Posted by Tisha on August 12, 2008 at 1:56 PM (CDT)


of, forgot to mention.  i have colleagues that have other types of handheld phones that have 3G (HSDPA/HSUPA/UMTS) and they have NO issues with connection whatsoever in San Francisco.  so it’s HAS to either be a piss-poor Infineon chip OR software on the iPhone 3G.  or the iPhone 3G is poorly built from the manufacturing plant. 

so far, iPhone 3G users seem to be the only ones having this issue.  so it is NOT the carrier.

Posted by phongsta on August 12, 2008 at 2:03 PM (CDT)

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