10 Replies Latest reply: Apr 15, 2011 7:51 AM by the-worm-in-the-apple
sjsutton Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Yesterday my roommate replaced his 3-year old VerizonWireless Motorola flip phone for an iPhone4. I have to give him credit for waiting so long - the online order process was easy and he received it yesterday.
His Motorola flip phone would always hold a full bar signal throughout the house. I don’t think he ever experienced a dropped call using it, with the exception of talking to someone on an ATT iPhone.
When he completed the (easy) activation process, the iPhone showed Verizon 3G and displayed 4 signal strength bars (out of 5). The 4 bars displayed while the iPhone was hooked up to an iMac via the 30-pin/USB cable. Upon removing the iPhone from the 30-pin cable, the signal bars dropped to 2, then 1 bar (while always maintaining a 3G icon). Initially I thought this odd, and figured the whole “death-grip” controversy that plagued the ATT version was resolved. (I also have an iPhone 4 through ATT, and use an in-home MicroCell tower.)
Upon further testing, the VZW iPhone would fluctuate between 1 and 2 bars throughout the house. The phone was able to make a call, but when I called the phone, about 7 times out of 10 the iPhone would not ring and the call went to voicemail.
We did notice if the phone was placed down on a flat surface, the bars would go up to 3 and sometimes peak at 4. This was also the case when the iPhone was plugged into the AC/USB/30-pin charging cable. But as soon as you touched it and/or unplugged it from charging, the phone would dip down to 1 to 2 bars of signal strength.
Ok, I told him to try this at work, located in Northern NJ (Verizon’s backyard). He confirmed while the phone does pull in 4-bars of signal strength while it’s laying flat on a surface (desk/table), the bars drop to 1 and/or 2 upon picking the phone up. This dip is evident if the phone is held by the metal band or just holding it using the glass (front and/or back).
I’m picking up a universal bumper today to see if this might affect the signal indicator issue.
Couple of questions - has anyone else noticed this fluctuation in signal indicator? And could their be a defect in this specific phone that could be responsible for this?
I think it all odd as I use a VZW Mi-Fi 2200 in the same house and always lock into a full signal indicator. The Mi-Fi must be using the same VZ wireless tower nearby.

24" Aluminum iMac, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • Ralph Landry1 Level 8 Level 8 (41,740 points)
    Hi SJ,

    That could be a function of your roommate's iPhone...mine gets 5 bars hand held, holding an all positions with grip on metal band and only front and back, and 5 bars laying flat on my desk. I am on the 10th floor of an office bldg outside Wash DC, another Verizon stronghold.

    At home last night, got 3 bars in my living room...recently retired analog cell phone from Verizon would get 1 bar at best in that location...so the iPhone seems to be performing much better than the old cell phone.

    Perhaps check that phone in a number of locations and see what it does/doesn't do.

  • Level 6 Level 6 (11,035 points)
    One sure thing I have learned after many years and many phones...

    Don't pay all that much attention to the bars, really. I have seen all kinds of weird things, such as no bars at all changing to 5 full bars without moving the phone at all. I have placed calls with no bars or 1 bar only to see them all of a sudden jump to full bars once the call was initiated.
    For what it's worth, I just got my iphone today and am actually quite surprised at how GOOD its reception is. Again, I have used many many phones, most recently a Droid Pro, and the iphone beats it hands down. It is allowing me to stay on calls in areas where I had never been able to before.
  • VSing Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I replaced my 2-year old Blackberry Storm with a new VZW iPhone4 two days ago and have been plagued with dropped calls and failed calls from home since I got it. I have never had any problems with dropped/failed calls from this location since I got my first Verizon Wireless phone back in 1995. I have noticed that the signal strength fluctuates from 1 bar to 3 bars without any rhyme or reason. Verizon's network specialist has recommended that I try replacing the phone, but after reading your post, I wonder if that will make any difference. My daughter's Droid and my husband's Motorola flip phone work perfectly. It seems that there must be some incompatabilities between the iPhone and Verizon's network. Perhaps it would be better to go back to my old Blackberry until the "bugs" are worked out?
  • haulin Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Mine had the same issue, and so does its replacement. The 3 other phones we have (LG Env, Samsung Fascinate, and Samsung Intensity) all work fine in my house. I am unsure on what to do now, my worry free time is up and I need a phone that is reliable and works in the house.
  • Biggerbyte Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
    Put a case on it, folks. A real case. NOT the bumper if you want to protect your phone from potential drops. Get used to the antenna issue. It is there to stay until at least the iPhone 5. I was told by Apple, and ATT that the issue was resolved with the latest phones, and the latest firmware, so I finally gave up my 3GS and jump on the iPhone 4 wagon. I love my new phone in so many ways, but the antenna issue is certainly not fixed, and it never will be with this design. Yes, I'm ticked for being lied to and manipulated, but you really have only two choices. Keep the phone and deal with the design flaw, or just take it back and be done with it.

    Put a case on it and move on. Simple as that. If you stop losing signal after using a case, but you are still getting dropped/no calls, that would be a whole other issue. My phone is really being good to me, post case application. The resolution on these phones is amazing.

    Good luck
  • haulin Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Whats a good case to help the issue? I have a Griffin case (thin rubber around the outside and clear back) and I don't think it has helped much if at all.

    Oh and I in it for the long haul now since I got screwed by Verizon. I was at my the end of my 14 days, they extended it 7 days and told me to exchange it for another and see if I had just got a bad phone. Well I did EXACTLY what they said to do, and it did not get better and now they say I can not return it. They say my worry free guarantee ended with the first phone. So why did you extend me 7 days??
  • fj0808 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I absolutely agree with the "buy a case" recommendation. When I first got my iPhone 4, I had the "death grip" problem -- easily reproducible. It was driving me crazy, because I had to make calls holding the phone with only two fingers in order to keep reception from vanishing. Bought one of the Otterbox cases and now have no such problems.
  • John1988 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    I think I may have the same problem as you guys. I also have never experienced this kind of issue on Verizon's network. All the Verizon phones in my household work fine. Only my iPhone has this problem, which makes me believe it's an iPhone problem. I've tried my brother's iPhone and mine side by side, his works mine doesn't. This test was done same location, both verizon network, and have the same cases on. And this problem is intermittent. I've also tried a couple other phones on Verizon, they all work. So happy I'm not the only with this problem. Has anyone found a solution?

    For the people saying it's because the deathgrip and having no case on, take a look at these videos I made, I'm not even touching the antenna...


  • Level 6 Level 6 (11,035 points)
    I went from a droid x to the iPhone 4 on Saturday. Both phones showed the same signal strength of 2 bars in my house. On the droid I had an app that showed the actual reading with was consistently between -90 to -100 dBm. On the iPhone, 2 bars is equivalent to -98 to -107dbm. The x did not require a case, while it is needed for the iPhone. So by putting my iPhone in a case, the antenna is still slightly weaker at pulling in a signal than my x. So far no dropped calls. I had dropped calls with my x in the past from home, so I am sure it will also occur on the iPhone.
  • the-worm-in-the-apple Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    CaliforniaJay wrote:
    One sure thing I have learned after many years and many phones...

    Don't pay all that much attention to the bars, really. I have seen all kinds of weird things, such as no bars at all changing to 5 full bars without moving the phone at all.

    Regarding this very point, we were just discussing this in another thread. I ended up putting way too much info explaining signal, etc... but for those interested and/or daring enough to read, here's the post:


    Just thought someone might enjoy some supplemental info.