Can You Connect to 3G Now?

So, this weekend I had a lot of problems connecting to the 3G network. Bars showed full. 3G icon was lit up. But email and web browsing -- any type of network activity really -- either took forever to resolve or timed out completely. Today was even worse. Couldn't get on for most of the day. Zip. Zero. Zilch. And this was AFTER installing yesterday's hot new 2.0.2 firmware (once I got it to download...). So what's going on?

Are there carrier issues resulting from less mature 3G networks? Is there an Infineon 3G chipset hardware problem? Is Infineon dragging their heels about writing better drivers? Is something in Apple's iPhone 3G software stack that's just not connecting well, or timing out too quickly? Or is it a horrible confluence of all of the above, making it an especially tough -- and frustrating -- bug to squash?

Given the lack of any apparent, or at least successful, fix in 2.0.2, Engadget says Apple is "shooting in the dark" trying to resolve the 3G issues. I don't think so. I think, as one of our commenters mentioned, 2.0.2 was scheduled to add support for the addition 20+ countries and carriers coming on line this week, and crammed in whatever minor improvements Apple had ready. Rewriting the 3G drivers, especially if Infineon isn't moving at Apple-required speed, isn't likely to happen before the rumored September 2.1 release (which, as mentioned in the post on turn-by-turn GPS, has already jettisoned Push Notification Server support, hopefully because Apple is laser-focused on delivering an actual, gosh-darn real stable release in 2.1).

I don't know about you, but at this point, that's the priority I want them to have moving forward. Do one thing at a time, do it very, very well, and then move on...

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Can You Connect to 3G Now?


I am having the same issues - post 2.0.2. Full bars - no data connecting and even worse i get "call failed" 4-5 times before call goes thru. Like you said, I don't know if its AT&T's network or Apples software or Infineons hardware but this is really unacceptable. The crazy part is how we can tolerate this and say it will be fixed by September update. I pay about 100 a month to use this phone and it should be pretty f'in spectacular for that price. What really gets me is that i have like 4 macs 3 apple tvs a zillion ipods, and they are great products that work and work well. iphone is great and i still would rather have it than any other phone out there. I guess im just not used to Apple not being able to deliver and actually be par for the course instead of leading the pack. The 3g/mobile me launch is very uncharacteristic on Apples part and so far they haven't really corrected their f*ck up yet.

The same exact thing has been happening to me - bars are full, "3G" is lit up, and it just sits there and hangs. I am updated to 2.0.2.

Was fine up until this morning and then the same thing happened to me. Although I turned the phone off and turned it back on and it works for a little bit but it stops after a while... this is NOT good.

Same thing here. I love this phone but the dropped calls are awful. When you switch to Edge only the calls seem to drop less but the call quality fades in and out.
But even worse, I never had problems browsing the web. Since the 2.0.2 update web browsing is AWFUL! It doesn't connect and times out. WTF?!?
Even with calls dropping sporadically I was upset but not that upset. Now that I can barely browse the web I am EXTREMELY UPSET!
Cmon Apple I love this phone but this is completely incompetent. You made billions the past year. Take the loss. Buy some chips that work and do a recall. Care about your customers and we'll keep coming back. Don't stop patching your busted product like Microsoft has done for Windows for the last 20 years.
Do a recall and you will continue to make billions.

Ok so I have 3g on my laptop and ipone and neither are working right now. I get only edge. I have attempted to reboot and I can barely get a 3g signal on either for just a sec or two then it is back to edge which I might as well be sending stuff through the mail...I am thinking it's an AT&T issue, but that's just me....

This issue can't be carrier related since people on Rogers and At&t are having the same issue. Wow I am really pissed at this point. Without a data connection this phone is totally useless.
*It's not just 3g that is totally jacked up either, Edge connection does the same thing.

@ Bad Ash....maybe your right, but I have had this issue for a few days on both my laptop and Iphone, where this wasn't an issue before....Strange that it would be happening on my laptop too.....

I'm in Winnipeg (Fido, aka Rogers) and have had no issues (iPhone since July 15). Never dropped a call yet. No speed issues I can think of. Just tested the 3G and got 1426Kbps download (I think that is normal-ish). Downloaded 2.0.2 the day it was released with no problems. Installed with no issues. Just tested again and got 1841 download speed. Sorry, but 3g-wise, I have nothing to complain about.

I've had my share of 3g issues with my iPhone, but I'm currently getting 3g voice and data. No problems at all.
I'm in Santa Clara, CA.

I have had no problems with the iPhone on EDGE or 3G, no app problems, even after downloading 2.0.2
Have been in Miami FL, Staten Island NY, Paulsboro NJ, and Philadelphia PA, and Norfolk VA, and heading to Savanna GA. then to Baltimore MD.

i've had 100% same exact issue since i got the phone 3g with 2.0.
i updated to 2.0.2 and its hasnt fixed s@#t.
internet connectivity is horrible.browser waits and waits and nothing happens.Mail,stock,weather,maps nothing loads.
and then after like 10-20 min or even the next day it'll all start working on its own,without any resets or anything!!im going to try a new iphone and see if that helps,probably not

Had the same issue for the past couple days (I'm on Fido, Canada). Called customer support and I was told to reset network settings (Settings->General->Reset). That seems to have helped, no problems since then (we'll see for how long...).
Btw, I was told that enabling Data Roaming while in the country should help with the connection. That doesn't sound very logical (roaming occurs when out of the country, right?), but maybe someone can clarify that?
Also, funny thing about some CSRs: I was told yesterday that WiFi offers speeds of 90 Mbps (!) while 3G offers only around 50 Mbps and that's why youtube streams lower quality videos, lol. And that was supposed to be "technical support"...

I'm on O2 in London and I'm having problems as well. It seems like the number of bars of 3G service has gone up since 2.0.2 but it takes even longer to get to websites, especially if there are only one or two bars of service. I've found it actually takes me less time to load webpages in these cases if I turn off 3G and just use EDGE. Seems to me like it should do this automatically when connections are taking a while, right?

Same issue in Denver, CO - will have a couple bars of 3G - but absolutely no data capabilities, page will eventually time out. Seems to come and go, sometimes 3G flies other times I have signal and get nothing.

I updated the software and voila, four bars with 3G! Then, I tried to use the phone and calls were being dropped at a rate of 70% from my home and work (in Los Angeles). I finally turned off the 3G. AT&T researched my problem and basically told me tough luck. The rep even had the audacity to tell me that iPhone users have higher expectations. We expect to be able to make phone calls with our phones... wow. I agree that this is unacceptable. I am paying for a phone that essentially doesn't work unless I turn off the 3G, in Los Angeles of all places. I love Apple products and even own their stock. But something needs to be done about this that handles the problem once and for all.

I live near Detroit MI and haven't had any 3g issues, but I rarely even use 3g. Normally just wifi from home. But I have noticed that the GPS is not very accurate at all. Sometimes it shows me driving on the wrong road! Not sure if it's the GPS itself or the Google Maps application.

Pages load fast on my EDGE iphone than on my friend's 3G.
Same thing after testing with the 3G turned off.
Btw, both phones were updated with 2.0.2 and both had full bars.
There is definitely something wrong with the 3G chip/reception.

Everyone should post where they live. In Hawaii, 3g is very fast and my friends and I have not experienced the slow 3G or dropped calls issues. This leads me to believe it's more network issues than phone issues...

Oh and BTW, if you can stomach the voice and roaming charges, I just returned from Japan last week. iPhone 3G works fine. It roams between Softbank and NTT Docomo networks for voice and data.The only thing that didn't work was GPS location via Google Map.
Just FYI

I live outside of Philadelphia PA and have been having all kinds of problems with dropped calls, internet connection, weather, stocks, name it. Just downoaded 2.0.2 and I think it got even worse, but I just reset my network settings like Chris suggested and it seems to be working least for the time being. I have had the new iphone since July and I am not all that thrilled with it. It is a crappy phone. Maybe Apple should drop the word "phone" from the name.

I'm thinking its not carrier related. For one, customers all over the world are having trouble connecting, even with the more advanced european 3g network. And even moreso, there are reports today the RIM's Blackberry Bold (which is currently only available in Chile and Germany) is having similar troubles connecting to its 3g networks. I'm thinking its the hardware, not the network

I'm thinking is a combination of things. If there is no issue with your iphone than there is the issue of network depending on your location. If there is no network issue, there is the bad iphone issue. If not the bad iphone or the bad network, there is the upgrade of the 2.02 causing problems. In my case, my 3G was at least working even though not great and phone calls were working majority of the time before the 2.02. After upgrading to 2.02 Phone calls kept dropping and both 3G and Edge not working. I'm having problems going back to 2.0

Was still having 3G/data problems i spoke about earlier but on top phone has been freezing a lot.
I just got back from apple and they replaced my phone. Apparently i had a bad processor. What happened as every now and them
n the phone would freeze and get stuck on apple logo on startup. I ended up having to restore every time. Today it happened and i went there and they tested it and swapped it out for me.
Lets see if i get the same 3G problems i noted before........

I am in France and haven't had any problems with 3G either with 2.0 or 2.0.1. I was in Germany in early August while still on 2.0 where I had no problems, either. On the night of 5-6 August Orange/France upgraded its 3G network and advised its 3G customers (including non-iPhone users) to turn off their phones and reboot, after which I get 4-5 bars in all rooms of my 4-level house, including the laundry area in my half-basement in the back part of my house, where I used to get hardly any signal.
I hope to get up my nerve and upgrade to 2.0.2 today, and shall post back with findings.

I have now updated to 2.0.2, and am having no problems connecting to Orange/France 3G. Meanwhile, everything does seem zippier in various apps. I also read at a French iPhone blog that Orange has yet again updated its 3G network (which some posters suggest to be timed with iPhone updates), whereas a German blog also reported no problems with 3G reception.
It's perhaps a good idea to remember, though, that France is only slightly larger than the State of Texas hence much easier to manage when it comes to coverage, regardless of GPRS/EDGE/3G.

As noted a couple of times above, this was not an iPhone specific problem. True, the iPhone has MANY problems and does not live up to many expectations, but, I also have a Nokia N95-4 and AT&T card and they also had 3G "or connection" difficulty. So, PLEASE, stop just assuming it's iPhone woes, and do some more comparison before hyping the device more than others that are even more impressive. Sheesh. Ugh, all this press for something that is SO far behind many other devices, STILL! It's got a slick black touch screen, (that's the only separation really) even that has been cloned over and over.
~Tired of the hype

for some reason i cant get 3g i always get the E in the corner with i do not know what that means.

It's so good to see that many of you are having the sames problems I am. My troubles seemed to start after 2.0.2. While at first, I thought the update was great, my 3G downtime has now far exceeding the time it works. As many of you have pointed out, the Safari progress bar will stick at about 10% and the page will not load - sometimes for over 20 minutes and repeated attempts at refreshing - even when I have 5 gleaming bars of 3G. Switching to EDGE is no help, either.
This is a maddeing problem since I bought the phone for 3G use. I plan on calling AT&T and requesting a refund on my data charges for this month. I know it's probably not their fault, but if they start getting dinged financially, they'll put increased pressure on Apple to get a fix out NOW.

Got the Iphone and enjoyed it untill the updates came out, one is worse than the other, what is the point of having safari if you can't connect, I can't even get my email from edge, 3G or wifi!!!! PC guy that thought maybe I was wrong about apple, now I am not so sure.
I am waiting for the parody of the famous "I ama Mac add" Only this time its I am an Iphone. Where the pudgy regular phone connects, sends email, doesn't crash. and then sends and recieves photos with text messaging. Teh skinny cool guy just stands there and says "wowo you can send pictures with txt, I just wish I could connect to my network, I am so alone.

i am from the philippines and i have the same issues as you all have.. i think its the phone's issue not the carrier. :(

Hi -- for quite a while it was apparent to me that the issue was the 3G network here in the US. When I first received my new iPhone on July 11th, at 8:30am, the 3G worked fine....I could make calls and browse the web under 3G and everything was flawless. Using 3G as my default network all the time sucked my battery down pretty quickly, but it worked just fine. When I complained about battery life, the Apple "genius" bar suggested I turn off 3G whenever I didn't really need it, to save battery life.
A few weeks later, after Apple and AT&T had sold hundreds of thousands more of the new 3G iPhones, 3G started working much more sporadically, and in fact I began experiencing the issues already raised by othere on this blog...inability to complete a cell call (which would go through the 1st time if I tried it on Edge), and horrible browsing on 3G as well. I was instructed to try all kinds of things to fix the 3G problems and nothing helped. Upgrading to the newest firmware didn't help, nor did rebooting, or completely resetting (erasing and starting from scratch) the iPhone. I just had the unit replaced with a brand new one....and it now WORKS on 3G. I am making calls again (1st time), and also able top browse. Maybe AT&T improved their network at roughly the same time that I finally got my phone replaced...hard to say. Anyway, I think all the wrinkles will get smoothed out here...Apple and AT&T have too many customers (and too much customer dis-satisfaction) at stake to not keep focused on resolving this. My next issue is to keep pounding on the door until someone at Apple gives permission for app developers to make an app that provides voice-reco for dialing of numbers (etc), which is an amazing feature I had working for over 2 years on my HTC 8125 (Windows phone on AT&T) and now miss it terribly. This is a throwback to old cell phones that pre-date Windows CE...
-- Jimbo