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Software fix enroute for iPhone 3G reception?

updated 09:45 am EDT, Thu August 14, 2008

Fix for iPhone 3G drops

Unusual reception problems with the iPhone 3G are indeed attributable to Infineon's 3G chip, say two anonymous sources. Described as "well-placed," the individuals claim that approximately 2 to 3 percent of iPhone traffic is suffering from connection troubles, which may also include continual shifting between 3G and 2.5G networks. By comparison, the normal rate of dropped calls for AT&T is about 1 percent.

Challenging statements from Nomura Securities, though, the sources say a software fix is not only possible but in development by Apple. The underlying issue is claimed to be how the Infineon chip deals with the handoff between cellular data networks; as with most 3G chips, it is continually gauging whether enough bandwidth exists for 3G to be useful. One source suggests that Apple has programmed the chip to be especially demanding, meaning that network saturation can more easily force iPhone users from HSPA down to EDGE.

As a result the greatest areas of 3G trouble are said to be in urban areas with large numbers of iPhone users, like Boston and San Francisco. The situation may even be worsening in places due to a sharp increase in activations, bringing the oversaturation threshold closer.

It is also noted though that the Infineon chip has generally not been used so intensely or produced in such large numbers, and could be ill-equipped. Others have suggested that AT&T has simply failed to build enough 3G infrastructure, something the carrier denies.

by MacNN Staff



  1. imagine engine

    Joined: Dec 1969


    HSPA (3G) coverage

    I haven't heard of anyone complaining of dropped calls while using the iPhone 3G in either HSPA areas of Rogers GSM network in Canada. I believe this issue has more to do with a few international countries HSPA coverage and the signal output of their individual towers which may not provide the range or bandwidth they claim to offer.

  1. digiprod

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Returning my iPhone

    I have had nothing but problems with 3G reception, quitting apps, and iPhone crashes. I have tried everything including replacement iPhones, syncing with different Macs, NOTHING works. After over 30 Total Restores I am about done. I have yet, another appointment at the Apple Store this afternoon.

    If Apple can not resolve the issues I am having, I will ask for a total refund!

  1. schwachs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    3g off

    I've had 3g off since about day three w/ my iphone. I hope something gets better along these lines.

  1. mbpcedric

    Joined: Dec 1969



    My boss was getting dropped calles on his 3G, but the software update fixed that. I had a problem where I could place a call but it would never ring...also fixed with the update.

  1. jwdsail

    Joined: Dec 1969


    So, I'm lucky?

    So, let me get this straight.. I'm lucky to be in an area where we won't see 3G ATT for 2 years? I've had 3G turned off since day one and have only installed apps via iTunes, and have had no problems so far.. knocks on wood

    I live in the wifi cloud, so 3G was never the reason to get this phone.. Would have been happy with the 1st gen iPhone if any had been available here...

    So, something finally went my way? Cool.

  1. aristotles

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Fido 3G Coverage

    I've had no problem with 3G on Fido on Vancouver Island or the lower mainland.

    There was a period of 3 days from August 4th when 3G was not working but it turned out to be network wide issue.

    Maybe ATT would talk to Fido about their experiences.


    Joined: Dec 1969


    No 3G here

    Have no 3G here so cant complain. But this is something I posted on Macintouch for those that may not be happy about not having 3G in your area but paying for it. Only applies to those that get get a Gen 1 iPhone to use for this:

    "I was not too happy at the lack of 3G in my area and even more so when AT&T said I was stuck with the 3G plan and was not able to add the EDGE plan. I did not wish to pay a premium of $10 more just for the convenience of GPS and 4GB of additional storage. Not to mention I would have to buy an SMS package!
    I still have my original so I took the 3G iPhone's sim and placed it in the older iPhone. As expected it wanted to activate the phone, so I let iTunes do its thing. I verified my number, selected plans, etc. Finally iTunes activated the older iPhone but did require an e-mail to verify activation and that took about 10 minutes.
    Once the older iPhone was up and running I took out the sim card and placed it back in the iPhone 3G. Worst case I would have to activate that one next and this would have been a pointless endeavor. But no activation needed! It picked up a signal and the EDGE coverage. I placed a call and it seems fine.
    I then logged into my AT&T account online to verify in fact that I was on the $20/month EDGE 200 SMS iPhone data plan. And I was!
    This was not too much work, saves me $10 a month and gets me 200 SMS. This is fine since there is no 3G in my area. However, I did disable 3G in the network settings just to be sure that if I do end up in a 3G area I will not be billed additional."

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: no 3G here

    I would argue that it saved you $15 a month, adding in the SMS charges.

  1. aristotles

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Richard=touchscreen joker

    This guy Richard Windsor is the same guy who a year ago falsely claimed that iPhone and iPod Touch screens were wearing out and used a chemical for the touch functionality. He was wrong then and I believe he is wrong again.

  1. makingdough

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I experienced a similar problem. When I bought my iPhone though, I first checked Got Reception? ( - a great resource for finding out where reception problems are most likely to occur BEFORE you lock yourself with a specific carrier.

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