General Question

itmustbeken's avatar

Is reception better on your iPhone 3g?

Asked by itmustbeken (233points) September 8th, 2008

I had an iPhone v.1 but returned it because of dropped calls and reception issues. Depending on whom you ask, reception is better on the 3g or exactly the same.

I trust Fluther users more than ATT & Apple reps. If you have experience with both, what do you say?

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16 Answers

Lightlyseared's avatar

(from the UK) 3g coverage is patchy particularly indoors. 2g coverage however is pretty good.

The 3g issue is apparantlly being worked on for the next firmware upgrade. It is thought that Apple didn’t set something up correctly

itmustbeken's avatar

I read that firmware 2.1 is being released tomorrow as part of the iPod ‘event’.
That’s interesting since I hadn’t heard that it may be a software problem.

Here in the states, the main carrier AT&T is known for their spotty reception and reluctance to fix it.

MrBlogger's avatar

Well I think that its just At&T. I has been proven that theirs nothing wrong with the iPhone hardware. Reception and the 3g network on Rogers in Canada is blazing fast! Pretty close to the ad. Its just since the Canadian population is 12 :P the network isn’t so busy. Not the iPhones fault.

qualitycontrol's avatar

My 3G network never works and if it’s enabled I can’t make calls because of a network issue. The first iphone was much better than the 3G. I overheard someone else in an ATT store complaining about the same thing. Apparently the 3G network draws too much energy from the phone towers and if too many people are using it it will crash, which I’m sure is what keeps happening. Iphone 3G is garbage, I want my first gen back.

bluemukaki's avatar

@qualitycontrol: I’ve had absolutely no issues with mine on Telstra (Australia) and neither have any of my friends. I think people need to realise that there are very few hardware issues and a lot of issues with Telcos like AT&T.

Lightlyseared's avatar

The 3G reception problems can’t just be blamed on AT&T especially when Apple have admitted there is a problem (CNet article)

The Apple discussions forum mentions people having problem in Australia and Switzerland (there’s porbably more but I got bored of reading the forum theres several hundred responses there).

Apart from Apple and the providers being at fault it has also been sugested that the high production rate needed to sell 1 million iphones in a weekend resulted in a lower quality (Sweedish article translated badly by Google)

At the moment the best you can hope for is that Apple programmed the sensitivity to the 3g signal wrong somehow and that it can be fixed in a firmware update. There was a rumour that the 2.1 update will focus exclusivley on the 3g issue and that all new features will be pushed to a later update. (sorry can’t locate my source on that but as it’s only a rumour I doubt it matters that much)

EmpressPixie's avatar

My 3G drops calls almost constantly unless I’m physically outside. I love everything about it except for the phone. While I don’t have experience with the first iPhone, I can tell you that reception is horrible on the new one. I would really stick with what you have until it is improved unless you just have to have a new phone rightnow.

sacaver's avatar

There are two class action suits against Apple and AT&T that were recently filed. One of the suits is against Apple and its advertising for the iPhone claiming that the phone would be faster (email, web browsing, etc.). The other suit is also generally based on the unrealized 3G connection speeds. Check it out on iPhone Atlas’s site:

Apple lawsuits

sacaver's avatar

And I love, absolutely love, Apple’s suggestion for poor 3G signal

move closer to a window


itmustbeken's avatar

You know when you ask a question and hope for the answer you want..yeah…I didn’t get that.

I think I’ll just stay on Sprint and deal with their horrible phone choices until the HTC Diamond is released.

Lightlyseared's avatar

As far as I’m aware all 3g devices have problems indoors as the 3g network is on a different frequency that penetrates buildings less.

And as for apples move closer to a window sugestion back in the late 80’s early 90’s that was a common technique to improve signal. Of course it was harder then as the phones used to weigh a lot more.

sacaver's avatar

The issue with 3G reception is pushed more to the “fiasco” side when you put another AT&T 3G-capable phone next to a 3G iPhone. In many cases, reception on the iPhone shows no bars while the other 3G phone shows a full 5 bars. This is documented on the iPhone Atlas site. I think this discounts the notion that “all” 3G devices have problems indoors. This is either a software issue or, worse, a hardware issue.

Another suggestion made by users, and then also offered by Apple, is to just turn off the 3G setting on the phone, thereby forcing the device back to the EDGE network. This will, in fact, get the phone working. However, if you purchased a 3G iPhone, live in an area which AT&T shows on their own website as fully within the 3G network, and have to turn off the 3G functionality in order for the phone to work… something is not working correctly. Apple is releasing OS 2.1 on Friday, and hopefully it will address these connectivity issues.

bluemukaki's avatar

@Lightlyseared: I get 3 bars in my basement which is 4 feet below a solid concrete slab and a 2 story house, but no bars at all of EDGE.

I was of the school of thought that 3G penetrated further than EDGE or GPRS… (?)

Lightlyseared's avatar

Poor indoor coverage holding back 3G

@blue the 3g signal could be coming from a transmitter much closer to your house than the 2g signal

bluemukaki's avatar

Well I guess I got a mutant (but good) iPhone, the 3G and EDGE towers are both in the same place on the map, but I still haven’t had any problems. I hope they fix it for everyone else though- it must be a real bitch not having 3G when you should!

On another note, my 3G and EDGE use doesn’t change the battery life, I think the actual battery symbol on the iPhone is really flawed, sometimes my iPhone dies about 10 mins after it had 50% battery left.

itmustbeken's avatar

UPDATE:: In one last attempt to get an iPhone without getting an iPhone I purchased the HTC Diamond Touch for Sprint. 2 days with it and I realized I was still only 3 screens away from Windows Mobile. For $600, the ‘pig in a dress’ comments apply.

Returned the phone, marched over to Apple and bought a 3g iPhone. Holding my breath on the way home I watched the bars lower from 5 to 2 when i got to my house. Went inside and it stayed with 2. My previous phone had no reception in my house at all. Made a few calls and the voice quality was obviously better than last time AND the calls did not drop.

I only have anecdotal evidence to this, but the 3G is far better in terms of reception and call quality than the first release iPhone I owned in February of this year.

And did I mention i freakin’ love it?

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