Apple: NYC iPhone users average 30% dropped calls | iLounge News


Apple: NYC iPhone users average 30% dropped calls

An Apple Genius Bar employee has told a New York City-area iPhone user that most iPhone users in the region experience an average of 30% dropped calls. In an email to iLounge, reader Manoj says that after experiencing a high volume of dropped and missed calls, along with voicemail delays, he repeatedly contacted AT&T, who ran him through a series of standard troubleshooting procedures before telling him to have the phone examined by Apple. After speaking with Apple tech support over the phone and trying several other troubleshooting steps, Manoj took his iPhone into an Apple retail store, where a Genius Bar technician tested the phone and found nothing wrong. Since notifying Apple of the issue, the company had been keeping track of his dropped calls, and found that his phone experienced dropped calls around 22% of the time. The technician told Manoj that this was “better call coverage” than other iPhone users in the region, who experience “30% dropped calls” on average.

As noted in an iLounge article from February 2008, New York City has one of the highest concentrations of iPhone users we’ve seen in a major metropolitan area, and service in the area has been a subject of frequent complaints from users. A lawsuit filed against Apple and AT&T in New York’s Easter District Court in September 2008 named AT&T’s struggle to respond to demands on its 3G infrastructure resulting from the iPhone 3G launch among its complaints against the two companies.

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I wouldn’t take these statistics too seriously.  It might just be casual and uninformed exaggeration on the part of an employee.  AT&T probably wouldn’t release their official metrics to the public.

Posted by Mike Nilsen on September 30, 2009 at 11:47 AM (CDT)


I get drop calls at least once a day… it happen 3 times between 6pm-9pm last night, and yes I am from NY…

Posted by Jack Wong on September 30, 2009 at 11:47 AM (CDT)


Fortunately, these dismal numbers apply mainly to Manhattan and not to the entire city. I have had few problems in the other four boroughs or in most of the suburbs I’ve visited (including the one I live in) 20 miles outside of the city.

Posted by David on September 30, 2009 at 11:53 AM (CDT)


@Mike Nilsen:  The order of events described above is exactly what I have experienced.  Tons of dropped calls, run the AT&T Customer Service script, go to Apple store and they do a diagnostic that tells them how many dropped calls you’ve had since the last restore.  The information is stored on the phone and Apple accesses it; no need for AT&T to disclose anything.

However, one thing that I do question is Apple’s diagnostic.  What constitutes a “dropped call” for the iPhone?  I have had times where I dropped a call and that iPhone said “dropped call”, but I’ve also had times when the call dropped, failed to pick up or go through on the first attempt and I didn’t get that on-screen message.

Believe me, the level of service in the NYC area borders on the absurd.  I was with Verizon for seven years prior to switching to AT&T for the iPhone.  I literally drop more calls in a month on AT&T than I did in a year on Verizon.

Posted by KllrDave on September 30, 2009 at 11:56 AM (CDT)


Since the iPhone was introduced, I have listened and read about a lot of people complaining and constantly wining about the AT&T service and constant dropped calls. However, AT&T currently is the only carrier that offers the iPhone in the US. This means that at this point, if you do not like the AT&T service, forget about the iPhone and get service with another carrier, and that will most definately will solve your problem.

Posted by PR-iPhone-Usr on September 30, 2009 at 12:14 PM (CDT)


At the risk (guarantee?) of getting flamed, I use a Blackberry on T-Mobile in Manhattan and I cannot remember the last time I got a dropped call.  And I’m not an Apple-basher. Been a Mac user since 1995 and an iPod user since 2004.

Posted by otaku on September 30, 2009 at 12:26 PM (CDT)


There were articles warning of this on 3gs release.  The software drops 3g customers connected to longest in favor of new connections.  In CT, my building has EDGE technology installed by what is now AT&T wireless. iPhone can not get the EDGE signal and 3G goes from 3 bars to nothing - It’s a good thing I hate talking on the phone.

Posted by sTomP on September 30, 2009 at 1:02 PM (CDT)


I’d have to say that my experience in Manhattan during the first weekend in August was far from abhorrent.  Sure, there were a number of places where reception was zero bars (downstairs restaurants, subway, etc.), but overall I found my iPhone to be an invaluable tool.  The phone worked when I was on the street, in the 37th floor hotel room and everywhere else I would have expected it to.  The Maps feature proved to be the most valuable.  For the most part, I didn’t experience anything I’d complain about.  While it wasn’t constant 3G like I am used to in Madison, WI, it was pretty darn good.

Posted by DJ Renton on September 30, 2009 at 1:13 PM (CDT)


@KllrDave: It’s not the order of events I doubted, just the extrapolation of a single user’s experience to calculate a Manhattan-wide average for dropped calls.  I don’t think the Genius Bar staffer or tech had enough information to make that call.  Only someone who had access to a large number of dropped call statistics could determine that average.  I think that the 30%/22% numbers just represent someone’s opinion.

I’ve never had a dropped call in Manhattan, but I don’t make that many calls (which is sort of related to my point; my experience doesn’t represent an average).  I have had a few data access glitches where I lost my 3G data connection, though.

Posted by Mike Nilsen on September 30, 2009 at 1:27 PM (CDT)


If you go to it shows a tech sheet from a genius bar. Basically it says about 30% call dropping is normal on the Iphone

Posted by Chris on September 30, 2009 at 2:30 PM (CDT)


Remember when we could see dropped calls on a bill and get credit for those dropped calls? That was Cingular, but we should fight to see that back on our bills.

Posted by CW on September 30, 2009 at 2:44 PM (CDT)


Don’t even think about moving from NY to Silicon Valley. I experience dropped calls/incomplete calls almost every day while driving around our high-tech mecca. That’s calls to other iPhone users as well as calls to land lines.

Posted by Jan on September 30, 2009 at 3:36 PM (CDT)


I’m almost at the end of my two year contract with AT&T.  I have had such dismal service in the NY Metropolitan area (where I live) that I will not be renewing my contract.  I’ve had many wasted hours on the phone with AT&T and many hours wasted at the Genius Bar to no avail.  The first generation iPhones simply do not work in the metro NYC area.  The phone and service is fine most everywhere else I go, just not here, where I live.  And AT&T blames me for not “upgrading” to a 3G sim for another $20/month.  I’m already paying $100 a month and they want more money with NO assurance that adding another $20 /month will help my lousy service.
Good-bye AT&T, goodbye iPhone.  And this from a guy who worked at Apple HQ in the ‘90’s and is a committed Apple fan.

Posted by Jon on September 30, 2009 at 3:53 PM (CDT)


I am a first time iphone buyer me and my fiancee just got two iphone 3gs phones. We live in New York (Long Island) and have amazing service, almost always full bars. I guess it just depends where (exactly) you live that this 30% of iphone users get horrible service. On the other hand I just got off a plan run of six years using Sprint and that service was very suspect where ever I lived on the Island. (shrugs)

Posted by Timmy on October 1, 2009 at 10:43 AM (CDT)


This article is 100% correct, the problems are even worse than stated. My 3g iphone drops from 30-50% of all call made. In Manhattan or Brooklyn an iphone is almost unusable. I have tested in many areas of Manhattan/Brooklyn, without much improvement. It doesn’t even work in union square. THE PROBLEM IS THE 3G network, IT IS OVERLOADED ALMOST ALL THE TIME. After a year of arguing with ATT I was finally able to get some money back. This network problem is finally known by the customer service representatives. I told the rep about the NY times artice, and the cnet article, and now you can use this 30% figure. I was able to get $165 for both lines, but it is still not enough. I am done with ATT, its like having the service problems of 6 years ago. GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN.

Posted by Brian on October 1, 2009 at 11:37 PM (CDT)


Weird, I’ve been using iPhone in manhattan since gen 1.  I wish the battery lasted longer but with 700 to 1,000 min a month calls, I don’t remember any drops.  I do have issues rarely with reception, but I expect that in the middle of concrete and subways.  My sprint and t mobile were about same.  Remember a dropped call while you head down the subway stairs does not count…lol.

Posted by W on October 2, 2009 at 6:58 AM (CDT)


“uninformed exaggeration on the part of an employee.”

I laughed at this. I haven’t been able to make or receive a single call in the last couple of months that hasn’t dropped. A friend of mine lives downtown, I live uptown, we each have 3Gs, we basically can’t get though a phone call without it dropping every 15-20 seconds. It’s a running joke. I would say that effectively there is NO IPHONE service in Manhattan.

30% is a grossly understated figure. Try 99%.

Posted by mike on November 22, 2009 at 5:16 PM (CST)

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