I went to AT&T and an employee showed me a detailed LTE map and it turns out that their 'coverage' map is kind of dishonest. Despite being in the middle of LTE coverage, it's actually just blobs that are mainly along roads and such that have coverage. So I'm basically right on the edge of a coverage blob. That's why the phone can't stay connected.
The phone's constant switching between LTE/4G/Edge is a serious battery drain and not efficient at all. That's the problem. The phone is just unable to effectively switch between networks. Basically, until new towers are built next year, I'm screwed.
Today was enlightening. Not only did I have my AT&T Galaxy S III with me, but I also had a family member with their VZW Galaxy Nexus (Jelly Bean), so I got to see a non iPhone 5 LTE device next to my iPhone 5, both on VZW. Based on this experience in the cities/towns of Somerville and Everett, MA, I am going to say that I now blame VZW for 90-95% of my problems and Apple for 5-10%. Previously I was blaming VZW for 75% and Apple for 25%.
I now strongly believe either VZW has just miserable LTE coverage throughout MA & NYC (which seems hard to believe given how long they have been building out their network) or that their cell towers have some strange SW bug which causes performance and signal strength to drop off a cliff when a LTE phone is not close to the tower, affecting upload speeds even more than download speeds when this happens.
Detailed results below.
Spot 1 was the strong tower spot, I have always had good strong signal performance on my iPhone 5 (mentioned above) - Union Square Somerville, MA (OUTSIDE)
VZW iPhone 5 LTE held good signal and provided strong upload and download speeds - 18Mb/s download / 10Mb/s+ upload with -68 to -78 dBM RSRP. Acceptable throughput, although still schooled by AT&T which was double the download speed.
AT&T Galaxy S III has similiar signal strength with download speeds of 36Mb/s and upload speeds 10Mb/s+
I did not have a VZW Galaxy Nexus at this location.
Spot 2 was Broadway St. in Somerville, MA (OUTSIDE)
VZW iPhone 5 had decent download speeds (10Mb/s) but slow upload speeds (2MB/s). 3 bars -99dBm RSRP 370ms (high latency). When forced in to 3G mode, RSSI was -80dBM at this location on iPhone 5
AT&T Galaxy S III was 18.12Mb/s down and 12.31Mb/s up. 3 bars -87dBm
Now the interesting part of what I learned
VZW Galaxy Nexus Jelly Bean download speed was 3.3Mb/s and upload speed was 2.5Mb/s 70ms. Even worse than the iPhone 5. -105 dBm LTE:13
Spot 3 was Target in Everett, MA (Wellington) (OUTSIDE AND INSIDE TESTING)
VZW iPhone 5 was flapping between 3G and LTE. When on LTE, speed test 1 was 7.63Mb/s down and 1.51Mb/s up (SLOW) and then 11Mb/s down and 0.45Mb/s up. When on 3G (did it on its own), -80dBM 4 bars
AT&T Galaxy S III was 30Mb/s down/6.45Mb/s up 81ms, -95dBM 45 asu
VZW Galaxy Nexus JB was even slower than iPhone 5 at this location in both download and upload speeds and also flapping back and forth between 3G and LTE:13
JP-- Re: iPhone 5 testing at VZW stores, the stores didn't have iPhone 5's in stock when I did my testing, so I only tested GS III's on VZW at the VZW store against my iPhone 5s.
Rogers Network in Canada
I had the same issue with my iPhone 5 and thought it would get better on its own due to recently getting LTE in my area. I tried everything to resolve this problem. I got a new SIM, reset and restored the phone a bunch of times, got them to re-provision my phone, etc... and nothing worked. I switched my phone's signal to display -dBm instead of bars for a more accurate reading.
I even reset the network again and turned off LTE. With just 3G on and comparing like for like with my iPhone 4 the 5 doesn't measure up. Without a doubt my iPhone 4 on the same network has way better signal / reception than my iPhone 5 on 3G. No loss in data ever.
I also did a continuous ping on my iPhone 5 and notice that I was dropping packets every so often. On my iPhone 4 I never dropped packets. Without a doubt either I also got a dud or there are antenna issues yet to be discovered. Now out and about my phone worked great even with low signal but at work and at home it could not get any data service. With my iPhone 4 the signal strength was incredible at work and home.
I took my phone back on the last day to which they extended the return policy until my new phone comes in. If I have the same experience with my new phone, I will pass on this model of the iPhone as not being able to stream music, or get emails, etc.... is a big letdown. My music is my thing that I do every morning before it gets crazy at work. If things get better I will consider getting one at a later date. Not willing to take the chance and get locked into a contract on a dud. My iPhone 4 served me this long I can do with the 5 for a bit longer.
All in all I like this phone but I just can't deal with the issues.
I have an additional theory related to the Music streaming complaints, but haven't done enough testing to prove or disprove this one or not yet.
If your network assigned IP address is changing every time the phone flaps between 3G and 4G/LTE and/or as you point out is not seamless and is causing packet loss, I could see this imploding music streaming fairly easily. I don't know how well written the music streaming SW is, but lots of SW apps (besides standard web sites), do not deal with IP transitions very well if they have active sessions established.
Well I could see that but the problem I have with that theory is wouldn't it occur on other devices too? I go back to the droid device on the same network (both running 4g LTE) and it streams like a champ with no problems at all...where the iPhone5 drops out every few minutes
Your theory is spot on for the "switch" between networks but the underlying issue is why would the device always let go of the network to switch in the first place...(even when there is a great LTE signal)....the droid device doesn't switch like the iPhone 5 is doing...it stays on the LTE signal and doesn't drop off at all...
I noticed yesterday walking around all areas of my house that it's bouncing over to 3g often...so that would explain the problem I'm experiencing here (based on your ip theory) but when I get in an active area of LTE signal I shouldn't have that problem of dropping out...I can be at my office in downtown greensboro on the top floor of a building and it still drops off every few seconds....
I'm sad to say I left sprint because of the lack of LTE coverage in my area....but I never had a streaming problem using my sprint device and they don't have 4gLTE anywhere around here....
Ink- I have the same issue at my house, my iPhone 5 is locked to 3G significantly more often than LTE and bounces between the two quite frequently, but I have proven that a VZW Galaxy S III also has poor service, upload speeds, and signal strength at my home location as well. The VZW GS III seemed a lot more likely to stay on a weak LTE signal than the iPhone 5, this is the 5-10% i'm going to blame on Apple, I can also blame Apple for the "o" state, just had it for about 2 minutes after waking from sleep, and sitting around on 3G way too long.
I can't blame Apple for the fact that VZW has LTE coverage gaps all over the place, either due to insufficient tower locations or bugs in their tower SW causing areas that work fine w/ AT&Ts tower locations to operate out here, but causing gaps in the LTE service area all over Metro Boston/NYC. I still cannot fathom how AT&T doesn't have such gaps out here since logic would tell you that VZW should have a superior network. Hence why I am not yet claiming this is just tower coverage gaps and not something more simple like a tower SW bug. I mean really, I had 1-2 LTE bars throughout NYC. How the heck can VZW not have towers all over the place in NYC?
So I thought maybe that might be the case the phone jumping back and forth between LTE and 3G but it wasn't. My phone was either constant on LTE or 3G signal. Also I turned off LTE for a few days of having the phone and I got the same results. The 3G signal on my iPhone 5 was worst than on my iPhone 4 signal.
What's I'm hoping is that issue is just in the software where there is some calibration or something that needs to be adjust for 3G and LTE signals and also the constant switching. Maybe it should switch unless the signal is 2 bars or over.
Apple is usually great with fixing issues but what happens if it's hardware. Can't fix this one with a bumper cover.
I'm starting to lean heavy on the side of taking the phone back until these issues are resolved. Not willing to take the gamble.
It would be nice if a software upgrade was released before I took mine back!