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I spent an hour on the (land line) phone last night with Apple support regarding my reception issues. While the Apple support person would not get into speculation (understandable), the overall nature of the conversation led me to believe that Apple Support is getting hammered with complaints over this.
If you haven't already, I think it is time well spent for everyone experiencing these problems to make it an official complaint by placing a call Apple Support.
Same issues here. I live in Chicago (north side) and rarely have any 3G service even though Chicago is supposedly blanketed by AT&T's 3G network. When I do it's completely flakey (poor voice quality, dropped calls, etc.). Most of the time when I have strong signal on Edge, I can turn 3G on and will have one bar, maybe two if I'm lucky. I don't even turn 3G on anymore as all it does is drain my batter. What a waste.
Doug's comments have seemed to be getting a lot of flack back and forth from both Apple and posts herein. I must say, so far, I think he "might" be on to something! I tried the following (yesterday), as Doug suggested, and thus far (the verdict is still out) things are working much much better on my 16gb black iPhone.
1) I restored the iPhone to a new phone. (With itunes 7.7.1 there is a bug which will keep popping back up and asking you if you want to restore from backup, even though you already have restored the phone back to its new settings. Be sure to click on the new phone option.) You can resync all your other stuff (music, contacts, etc) later. (I would back things up first just case)
2) I then went home, popped in the new SIM card (which I simply ordered from AT&T by mail, and I had it in 24hrs) reading with the 004, not the 003 ending digits. The SIM card in my iPhone which was purchased on July 12th one day after release, was different. I called AT&T and made sure that they had my IMEI number correct in the system for the new SIM card. They activated the SIM, and within a few minutes things were up and running (like 2 minutes, actually). I should note that in my apartment I was getting 3-4 bars of 3G, where before I was seeing 1-2 at best. Although, I'm not sure how reliable that is, because I AM STILL seeing it fluctuate significantly as I walk around the apartment, away from windows, etc.
3) I live in Seattle, downtown area, which is very well blanketed with the 3G network. I wasn't having as many problems with dropped calls, as others have described the assinine 20 or so dropped in 2 minutes, but I was having some frequent dropped calls. About 4-5 per week, or simply just "call failed" as I'd try to dial a number. What I was experiencing, that was more frustrating for me anyway, was data connection issues (which I've heard less about on this blog ,frankly). I was unable to connect reliably to my email, safari, maps-GPS, etc. I would literally be connected, writing an email, and then hit send, and for whatever reason it would act as if it was sent, the message would not go out, and I'd loose the message entirely. UGH! To get things working, I would have to do a hard reset to get 3G data connection, and the phone wouldn't even switch over to EDGE data. But of course WIFI worked fine at both work and in my apartment.
4) On taking the bus to work (15 minutes to the University of Washington) from downtown/Capitol Hill there is a dead spot on AT and T's network. It has always been a problem for me, with my old Sony Ericson, and my wife's Moto, as well. This morning however, after the restore, and the new SIM the phone switched out of 3G into EDGE while I was surfing the web, and then back to 3G once it was out of the deadspot. I've never seen my phone do this successfully before! So that was great news, or rather "encouraging". Also, since I have restored and added the new SIM, the cannot connect to internet problem is done. My phone has, seemlingly more total bars on average (although it def, still fluctuates from time to time), and is getting data, surfing, at much much better speeds.
5) I'm not sure that my problem is completely resolved. For one, I haven't made enough new calls today to confirm if the phone function is better (i.e. no call drops, and 3G-2.5EDGE switch over). But I can say, that as of 24hrs, this phone with a new SIM, and complete restore is working much nicer, and seems like the iPHONE I was promised.
6) Finally when on the phone with Apple Care (for an unrelated headphone/headset problem with my phone, which turned out to be a bad headset/mic...get a new one if it isn't working folks.), I should note that the man told me something very interesting. He said that the 2.0.1 update works best on some phones with a full restore, (new phone); And that layering the update on top of the old 2.0 won't solve bugs. This was very interesting to me, because when I updated to 0.1 I was shocked that I wasn't getting the "snappiness" that others were reporting. I am confident to say, my phone is snappier now, that I completely restored it.
All in all, I'm not 100% convinced that this is the problem; nor am I sold that this is the solution to the worldwide issues at hand. But I hope, as many do, that this is a network issue, or a Firmware update, and thus a quickly fixable problem. However, if you haven't tried what Doug suggested, I would give it a whirl. I will post in a few days to see how things go from here with my phone.
Good luck everyone! (AND Apple/AT&T, please tell us what is going on!!! We're paying high dollar for this product! Customer Service should be number 1, Give us at least, a heads up!)
Yes the 3G *****, so I returned my phone plus the lags from transitions from screen to screen, the freezing, crack in the phone, the touch screen keyboard etc....
However, GIZMODO summed this up the best by asking "How's your iPhone 3G reception" and then giving users five options to choose from and I choose:
"Two cups and a string could get better reception!"
Haha, not true... but it makes it point.
I live and work in Sterling VA, I travel all around northern VA and the closer I am to DC the better the signal strength seems to be. The problem I have is if I switch off 3G and I use the net or any net application (Pandora) then all my calls go straight to voice mail. It does save the batter some what but if I can't get any calls its worthless to me. If I'm on 2g using wifi its fine.
Just got back from the Apple Store and returning my iPhone. After (4) iPhones, (3) SIM cards, (2) sets of screen protectors, I am done with trying to use a product that just does not work good on 3G. I really do not care anymore if the issue is RF related or iPhone device signal - The bottom line is it just does not work for me....I cannot depend on a device that cannot keep a signal when I am only 1/4 mile from the closest 3G pole. Plan and simple - Good bye iPhone... maybe I will take another look when the dust settles and the device works as design intended... My current view is "This Dog does not Hunt".
I got my phone on the first release day. I live in Baltimore and the 3g reception was very sporadic, some areas very strong, many areas very weak. And in buildings fairly poor including my house. In fact it was so poor that at the local Apple store that I frequent they had their demo phones all on their wi-fi network with 3g turned off so that you experience the phones without being impaired by the 3g reception. With 3g turned off I've always have gotten good reception both on this phone and my original iphone. So because of the battery drain and the poor reception I've had 3g off most of the time unless I was in a neighborhood where I knew the signal was good.
Now this week something has changed in the last couple of days. My 3g reception has been strong and fairly consistent even inside the hospital where I work where I had rarely gotten a useable 3g signal. I'm assuming AT&T has done something with their network, I noticed a couple of days ago that the 3g signal was worse than usual and fluctuated even more, then all of a sudden BAM good strong reception with little fluctuation. I had hoped that the 2.0.1 update would have improved the reception but I didn't notice any difference after the update. But again just in the last couple of days something has changed and I'm a lot happier. So it does depend heavily on where you live and what's going on with the carrier and their network.
I do wonder when Apple will start responding and assuring customers. I realize the situation is not easy and when it is a combination of Network/Software and Hardware that requires troubleshooting, it is all more difficult.
Acknowledging the issue with no solution would create a slowdown in sales and image.
I have been talking with people in Europe. As we know UMTS has been around there for year and there much better coverage. Where there is full UMTS coverage the possible HW/SW issues of iPhone are minimized or not evident, where there is poor coverage it is when all the problems of the iPhone come up.
The truth is that ATT should not be off the hook on this. They are part of the problem. If ATT (for the USA) would have true good coverage, as advertised... we would probably not have any issue. The truth is different. ATT coverage map is not correct. I spent 1 hour on the phone with ATT. A manager of the tech support acknowledge openly that they are aware that the coverage map is not correct and that they are working to updating it. Probably too late... they fooled million of people.
For what it's worth, here's our experience:
My wife and I purchased our iPhones July 22 while vacationing in Houston (we live in Placer County, CA, which is 20 miles northeast of Sacramento). We both had terrible reception problems, with the dropped calls, unexplained missed calls, etc. My wife, who is in sales and uses her iPhone all the time, reported that about 50% of her calls were affected adversely and was considering getting rid of it and going back to her Blackberry Pearl on T-Mobile. Turning off the 3G didn't help. Neither did the 2.01 update. We then took our phones to the ATT store and they replaced the SIM cards without blinking an eye.
My wife's phone has now rock-solid for two days (it's still in 2G mode). As a matter of fact, she just called from an area on an Air Force base she was never able to get reception even with her old reliable T-Mobile Pearl. We are going to give it another couple of days to give her a good feel for how reliable her service is right now and turn her 3G back on to see what happens.
I haven't had any problems since the SIM card replacement either (my iPhone is in 3G mode); however, I haven't made enough calls to know if I still have a problem.
Of course, one week after we got the iPhones to take advantage of the MobileMe syncing, Apple dropped support for Explorer 6, which is all we are allowed to use at work on our locked-down workstations.