Thanks for the suggestion. I did a factory restore, and before re-installing the backup from iTunes, tried Safari, Google, App & iTunes Stores. All failed on 3g, with same messages as before. Per your comment, it appears that the problem lies with the carrier. Since Virgin doesn't seem to have a clue, my guess that something that Sprint has done is the cause.
For the record, the Safari message I get when a try a bookmark or search is:
"Not Found. The requested URL /iphone/ was not found on this server.
Apache Server at www.apple.com Port 8095"
When I try a Google search, I get:
"(Triangle with exclamation point) Unable to get results. Please check your network connection. Try again."
When I press Try Again, nothing happens.
When I try the iTunes and App Stores, I get the message:
"Cannot connect to the iTunes/App Store"
I have spent enough time working this problem, but am willing to try one more thing if someone can make sense of the information above and has a suggestion for something I haven't tried.
I am operational enough for my needs, with full capability on wifi, and 3g conncetivity for web surfing via Opera Mini, navigating via Google Maps, Skype, cellular phone, and email via Mail.
I finally got a response from Virgin Wireless that gave me a clue about what's going on. They tell me that Sprint (Virgin's carrier) is currently upgrading its network to something called Network Vision. To quote Virgin, "The cell site is being upgraded to Network Vision. Temporary impairments causing increased Dropped and Blocked calls may occur, in addition to instances of missed calls/calls rolling to voicemail, and 3G issues. This upgrade should be completed soon and service should be improved."
The messages I have been receiving for the past month on my cellphone when I try to access my Virgin account is that "We are in the process of updating our system....try again in 24 hours and the update should be complete."
I have not been able to find any online timeline or up to date status to this Network Vision upgrade, so it's anybody's guess when and if it will ever be complete and I will have my full iPhone 3g data capability back.
The problem of not being to access safari, Apple and other apps on my 4S via 3g described above remains with me.
Today I saw a posting relating to iPhone 5, and wonder if that could be the answer to my problem. This problem also involved the Sprint carrier (mine is Sprint via Virgin wireless). Supposedly the problem lies in an Apple factory setting. To quote:
We finally reached a Sprint Tech (ky158151) whom had the foresight and acted on his inclination. He called Apple on our behalf and was advised indeed the activation policy short. The tech put the request in to load the activation policy on the phone. After we got theconfirmation that the policy has been loaded we performed a factory reset and set up the phone as new. 15 min later, VOILA! Data!"
Evidently, to make this happen, one has to get beyond the top level of Apple support to the technies that know something about the problem.
Does diesel vdub or anyone else out there know whether this is worth pursuing for my Virgin iPhone 4S?
My iPhone 4S 3g data connectivity problem is fixed.
The problem lay with Virgin Wireless.
After describing the problem for the 4th or 5th time on their online website, I finally got a message in return that helped.
I was told to turn on wifi, and, using the Phone icon, punch in a certain number on the keypad and click Call.
The message "Starting Service Update" appeared and I clicked OK. Almost immediately, a second message said "Service Update Complete" and I clicked OK again.
Voila! My 3g connectivity problem was fixed.
Needless to say, I have saved the message and the magic phone number in case the problem recurs.