iPhone 3G Testing Episode 2: Revenge of the Swedes

When the Swedish engineers over at Bluetest revealed that, when measured at their facilities, the iPhone 3G radio performed roughly the same as 3G handsets made by Sony Ericsson and Nokia, some (including a few of TiPb's own, very astute, commenters!) cried foul. Not ones to be dissuaded by a little doubt, however, the Swedes brought in some of the people who complained about 3G reception problems, and put their iPhones to the test.

The results? According to Apple Insider, pretty much the same as before:

Wieselgren reported that the lab found that all these iPhones to "have no problems with the 3G communication in the test chamber. They send and receive signals in a fully normal manner. They do not disconnect earlier than the others we have tested when the signal becomes weaker." The iPhone using updated 2.0.2 software reported slightly better numbers, but Bluetest indicated there was no statistical significance, as a difference of up to 1dB in the results "can occur due to measurement uncertainty and random fluctuations."

Does this mean all the problems we keep having and hearing about are the exclusive fault of the carriers and their networks?

Well, no. We go back to our original theory that it's a confluence of conditions at work (which is why Apple says they can address some of the problems via another firmware update). Even if the antenna is fine, combine some dodgy networks with software that may be a little too sensitive to fluctuation, or too conservative in its reporting, and there are all many of problems that can arise.

2.1 may fix things on Apple's end, while public outcry (especially in France, where Orange has just been caught... er... red handed throttling down 3G traffic) could speed up the notoriously slow and stingy carriers to invest in their networks, and our future.

Make any sense? (Provided you can connect to the network long enough to read it...)

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iPhone 3G Testing Episode 2: Revenge of the Swedes

4 Comments

BUT DID THEY TRY SWITCHING FROM 3G to 2G AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS? Probably not or you would have mentioned it in one of your pro-Apple/anti-AT&T "news" stories. Other AT&T phones make this transition nicely. Not the iPhone which is where the dropped calls come from.
Don't get me wrong... I'm not a fan of AT&T... Verizon was much better reception-wise (and even/especially with customer service) but I hold that this is a iPhone problem as the crappy 3G Samsungs I have on AT&T don't have this problem... nor do my other friends 3G phones. Also, you would see an outcry on howard forums and elsewhere of others who have 3G problems with other AT&T phones. This is not happening to the extent it is happening with iPhones (have you seen other forums out there??? The complaints of 3G drops are endless... especially at Apple's site).
The PR spin Apple has sent out has worked apparently... and due to articles like these the problem will never be fixed as Apple "doesn't have a fix since it is AT&T's problem."

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