I have the same problem on my iPhone 5 over the 3 network in the uk. Was working fine over the last 2 months but has been playing up over the last few days, keeps losing network signal and dropping calls and also battery draining due to constant searching for signal. Have not been pleased with my local apple store, have met the manager who has been particularly unhelpful so am going to neighbouring store 35 miles away which I know has better customer service. From reading the forums, this problem is prevalent in various iPhone models nod not unique to just 4s.
Talk to 3, it sounds like the phones are homing in on the UTMS 1800MHz network. When I was on 3 Italy, data service was dodgy and the signal overall was weak.
I will be coming to the UK on the 8th of July (Heathrow) I can give you my 2 cents worth of the 3 UK connection there with my 3 Austria SIM (LikeHome roaming) + iPhone 4S.
I've just gone back to Android after a frustrating,and brief,relationship with an iPhone.Thought I was upgrading from my cheap Android handset and indeed the Apple product is lovely,clever and does all kinds of wonderful things.What it dosn't do is give me a reliable 3G signal which where I live makes it pretty useless to be blunt.It's not my provider,swapping the Sim card back to my £70 Android back up phone gives me the service I need.
Googling the problem throws up evidence of the 3G problem going way back to the original iPhone,not good enough Apple.
I don't use my phone for business reasons but I do need reliability,all the other great stuff the iPhone can do is great but at the end of the day a phone that can't be relied on to make or receive calls isn't worth anything,let alone Apple's premium prices.
I am at my wits end (almost) with my 4S.
It's been replaced twice (directly by the Apple Store) and it's still not fit for its primary purpose and drops calls on a daily basis, even when there's excellent coverage.
It is not a network thing. Two of my colleagues (on different networks) have the same issue.
My 3GS never did this. Blaming the network(s) is dodging the real issue that the 4S has some inherent issue.
Third replacement scheduled for Saturday. I'm not holding my breath!
Stallance, If it's not working out, sell it and get a new model?
Have you talked to your carrier?
Do you get the alert Call Failed? (if not, what does the phone say about the call status)
Have you checked actual signal strength?
-45 to -96 is seen as normal signal, anything below -100 to -130 is risky for calls.
What iOS Version are you using?
My iPhone 4S worked great when I was in Europe. The only time I had dropped calls was when I went into a tunnel...
Thanks Chattphotos - I should point out that I purchased the phone from my local Apple Store at the beginning of August, so a private resale would not recover a significant proportion of the original cost.
I have talked to my carrier and downloaded new carrier settings to no avail. The issue has continued from IOS6 into IOS7. As mentioned, my colleagues on other networks have experienced the same issue, even where signal strength is excellent. It seems to be more prevalent on incoming calls - the error message on all is 'Call Failed', although it is generally a couple of minutes before the phone releases the connection completely.
As mentioned, there will be a third swap of the handset this Saturday although I have little confidence in the 4S now, given the number of similar complaints in these forums (and the assertion by Apple that there is nothing wrong with the phone). Ideally I'd like a refund and to revert to my 3GS, which never had this issue.
Thanks for the reply - I appreciate your input.
I looked at the instructions on how to display the actual signal number and elected not to alter my settings to reveal this data.
The calls fail arbitarily (seemingly) and no particular area code appears to be more prone to failing.
Calls are taken in static locations where the iPhone signal indicator shows 4 or 5 bars (spots on IOS 7). As mentioned, the issue does not seem to be unique to either my iPhone 4S or my network. The connection is not released until two or three minutes after the Call Failed message.
"I looked at the instructions on how to display the actual signal number and elected not to alter my settings to reveal this data."
Wait what? Why? Explain
Field test mode is a function, not a modification.
I asked for this so that we can identify the next step of troubleshooting.
Just FYI, if there are 4 bars, it can vary wildly what the actual signal strength is.
(It can be anywhere from -60 to -90)
Aha! Just a buzzword that's all.
So you're bordering -100 and for most carriers, they would call that low signal which in-turn lowers the stability of the call.
For GSM, -130 is the lowest signal strength measured, but by the time you get to -100, it's better to stick with SMS or Chat apps.
Try again in another area (preferably with a signal around -75 or better)
If calls fail on a stronger signal, goto your carrier with the information you now have about the levels.
Thanks for that - I think this is beginning to explain my issue, although I am distracted as to why my 3GS never did this.
It's not so much the dropping of calls that bothers me (although it does!) but the failure to close the connection for minutes afterwards, making it difficult for me to either return the call or the caller to contact me.
The Field Test function is really useful - thanks for sharing that.
I have had both an iPhone 3G and a 4S. Both had terrible reception. I tried every test, swapped SIM cards, exchanged the phones several times, switched network provider, etc, etc.
Then I went to Berlin and the "call failed" issue stopped. Same in Zurich. Everything worked. I have come to the conclusion that there is a problem specific to the UK networks with the iPhone. Now I use O2's TuGo app so I can make and receive calls using wifi. The app also allows me to make calls abroad using my included minutes.
This doesn't solve the issue of why the signal is so bad over UK networks, but I have stopped trying to fix it.