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Summary:

Now that I’ve been using the new iPhone 3G for nearly a month, its capabilities and deficiencies are becoming clearer. The newer design makes it sleeker, easier to grip and a joy to look at. And the GPS chip has made the device infinitely useful, though […]

nullNow that I’ve been using the new iPhone 3G for nearly a month, its capabilities and deficiencies are becoming clearer. The newer design makes it sleeker, easier to grip and a joy to look at. And the GPS chip has made the device infinitely useful, though it doesn’t appear that the developer community has started to leverage the technology very effectively.

What’s bad about it? There are a few things (the battery, for instance), but nothing compares to the disappointing 3G wireless connections from AT&T. As I pointed out earlier, there were some issues with AT&T 3G network, though company officials vociferously denied that was the case.

Thirty days later, I can safely say that there are definitely problems with the connection. The speeds are marginally better than the old EDGE network, and videos on apps like MLB At Bat are of poor quality. The signal strength rarely exceeds two bars in most places (except my living room, where it’s at full strength.)

I’m not sure if this is a Bay Area problem or a nationwide problem, nor do I know the cause — the network or the iPhone. One thing is for sure, the new device is pushing Internet data usage and revenues for AT&T in a big way. What is your experience? Share it with rest of us.

CNet News.com reports that there have been widespread complaints but that AT&T isn’t making any statements just yet. “What we’re seeing is that the iPhone 3G is performing very well,” Mark Siegel, a spokesman for AT&T, told News.com. “I’m not denying that people are having problems. But we have to deal with these on a case-by-case basis.”

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  1. I have to say that I love the device, but the network is horrible. I never had a dropped call on the old iPhone, but I’ve had tons of dropped calls on the new one. I switched the 3G service off and “poof”: no more dropped calls.

  2. yes – the 3G throughput is the biggest disappointment. mine (3G) fails to connect repeatedly when sending/receiving text emails which cant be more than a few kbytes. the device via wifi works great.

    palo alto sucks for 3G/ATT

  3. the 3G speeds seem fine to me but I do randomly drop calls is full bar coverage areas for no apparent reason, which is a little disappointing. so far it hasn’t been a deal breaker but it happens regularly.

  4. AT&T’s network suck balls to put it bluntly….they would be just another bit player in the cellular market if it wasn’t for them being the only vendor desperate enough to succumb to the restrictions forced on them by Apple (taking an arrow out of the MS quiver, IMHO). In Orlando I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been somewhere with my Verizon Network-Samsung i760 happily surfing the internet while some poor chap’s been struggling trying to get a signal on his IPhone, only to give up in frustration. Mind you, I think the Iphone’s a great product and has made much needed strides in the interface aspects of cellular phones. The phone itself blows the competitors (be it Window Mobile, BlackBerry, or Palm OS) out of the water. With the implementation of the Exchange Push support, the only things it needs at this point for me to adopt is voice commands (I haven’t dialed a contact or a phone # via the keypad in a year now, Voice Commands rock!) and a decent cellular network. I can’t comment on the battery life as I’ve not worked with one consistently enough to get a feel for it, I just set them up for clients and help them with issues that they’re having.

  5. Hi Om,

    I’ve used over 186mb of data since I got mine on opening weekend and the speeds over the 3G network have been great. Now granted 3G’s not everywhere and it chews through battery life, but when it’s on I get great performance.

    My iPhone Review from a few days ago: http://www.wishon.org/2008/07/23/my-iphone-review/

    Best,
    ~>Bill

  6. I live just north of Atlanta. A week ago I turned off 3G because of how disappointing it was. Not because the speed of the data connection was slow, but because my calls were constantly dropping or breaking up. The signal strength indicator almost never went above one bar. Upon turning off 3G I was relieved to discover that the iPhone didn’t have terrible reception, but rather that AT&T’s 3G network is just very weak. I get great reception on AT&T’s EDGE network.

  7. I bought the 3G last weekend after seesawing for awhile to buy or not to buy. I had been a T-mobile customer for 4 years. Even though T-Mobile connection network is not the best, they had been improving it every year. I liked T-Mobiles customer service, which I feel is the best. AT&T customer service is like T-Mobile’s network connection, not a pleasant one.

    I had problem porting number from T-Mobile to AT&T network at Apple store when I bought, so they gave me a temporary number. I took it to the AT&T store immediately and they could not help either to port my old number. Next day I took it to the AT&T store near my home, and they pointed me to a phone and asked me to call their customer service. I had to remind them that they are paid for doing that kind of service for their customers and made him call the customer service and get the number ported to AT&T after two hours of waiting.

    I tried to use the map using 3G within the city, while driving the car. The experience made me to hold it from placing an ad in craigslist for the Garmin which I thought can be replaced with 3G. 3G can NOT replace any car GPS, if someone has such idea.

    But still there are many cool features make me not to regret me buying 3G and hope they get fixed sooner. I am having faith on Apple if not AT&T.

  8. Clearly not just your problem, check out this CNET post on exactly the same problem experienced worldwide
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-10012420-37.html

  9. I commute every day from Willow Glen to Sunnyvale on the VTA light rail, and the 3G coverage in the 11th largest city in the US (and the center of Silicon Valley) is horrid. There is at least one area near the Diridon Caltrain station where there is NO coverage. No EDGE, no 3G, no voice.

    Going north along 1st street, the coverage switches from 3G to EDGE multiple times, despite this being the heaviest concentration of tech companies just about anywhere. There’s not even decent 3G coverage around all of the Cisco campus at Tasman and 1st Street.

    When 3G is on, it’s speedy, provided you’re not moving.

    The push Exchange functionality doesn’t work well. We have multiple people who have problems with this, and I personally attribute it to the constant moving in and out of 3G/Edge/Wifi networks. I’ve found that fetching mail, instead of push, is the only reliable way for Exchange email to work. (I note that Blackberry users at my company complain of the same isses, so this is not an iPhone-only problem).

    Our Blackberry users on the AT&T network also complain about the 3G coverage.

  10. I’ve started missing more calls on mine when I don’t get coverage which is annoying. One nice surprise, though, is I can often make calls when I have no bars (which seems to be waaaaay too often) and the audio quality with no bars so far has been pretty ok.

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