British iPhone Users Complain Of Serious Reception Problems - InformationWeek

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11/24/2007
01:30 PM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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British iPhone Users Complain Of Serious Reception Problems

British iPhone buyers are in an online uproar over reception problems they're experiencing on the network of O2, Apple's exclusive service provider in England. (No bars for iPhone Brits?)

British iPhone buyers are in an online uproar over reception problems they're experiencing on the network of O2, Apple's exclusive service provider in England. (No bars for iPhone Brits?)The issue has come to light on Apple's own discussions forum, in a thread entitled, "UK 02 (poor signal strength/reception problems)." The thread is here.

This is the same discussion forum where Apple's iBricking escapade -- customers who'd downloaded third-party apps found their phones locked up -- first came to light in late September.

The O2 reception thread began on Nov. 11, and is still going strong, with 103 messages posted as of Nov. 25. That's an indication that, at least for the affected users, this isn't a one-off glitch but a problem in search of an as-yet-unavailable solution.

The thread also had been viewed 2,960 times, making it among the five most-read discussions on the forum. (Other top threads on the Apple Discussions iPhone forum are "Calling when overseas," "Trouble synching calendar with iPhone," "Anti-reflective coating on iPhone camera lens wearing off," and "iPhone volume.")

Complaints about O2 reception problems first appeared on the Apple forum less than two days after the iPhone went on sale in England at midnight on Friday, Nov. 9, in a post out of Derbyshire by one "lawlbaker2":

"My iPhone can barely pick up even the slightest signal, although on occasion can pick up 3 bars, only for it to drop out again. I have two other 02 phones, a Sony Ericsson and a Nokia n95 with no reception problems at all. Is anyone experiencing same problem with their iPhone, I would like to hear from you."

Reports of similar problems by two other users were met by a suggestion from poster Charles Duffy that the phone, rather than the network, might be at fault:

"Take your phone back for a replacement - it is faulty! I had the same problem - little or no reception. Had my phone replaced today and the signal strength is perfect. Still have a problem with Bluetooth, but hopefully this will be fixed by Apple shortly with their next update! At last I can make and receive calls!! Hope this helps! PS there is a 14 day return or exchange policy in the iPhone!"

The thread subsequently lapsed into a discussion of whether O2 service in general was bad, or whether it was just newer iPhone users who were experiencing problems. The consensus seemed to peg the iPhone as the culprit.

However, the fact that U.S. users haven't complained about reception would seem to point the finger at O2. (This last observation is me talking.)

Lest someone paint these Apple forum denizens as cranks, a further indication that perhaps the problems extend beyond a small group of users comes from the fact that there also are two threads on the customer forums of U.K. iPhone service provider O2. (The threads, here and here, are much, much shorter and less current than the Apple Discussions postings.)

Potential Solution

A few commenters have suggested doing a full restore of the iPhone's software as the answer to reception difficulties. "I am a US iPhone user but I would suggest to you to just do a full restore via iTunes," wrote one. Another poster, identified as Cottycam, advised the following:

"After reading this thread and others, I did a restore of the iPhone back to factory (1.1.2) and voila - success. On my desk no service to 1 bar again (best I can hope for) but in the bay window I now get 3 bars which is great."

To view the Apple Discussions iPhone thread at the source, go here. I'm also posting some screen captures of the Apple Discussions thread as a backup (during the iBricking incident, the forum thread was removed shortly after I blogged about it). Click the pictures to see larger, readable images.



Postings on iPhone reception problems on the O2 network, from the Apple Discussions iPhone forum. (Click picture to enlarge, and to see more screen captures.)



Postings on iPhone reception problems on the O2 network, from the Apple Discussions iPhone forum. (Click picture to enlarge, and to see more screen captures.)

P.S. Comments area below seems to be broken today, so if you have a comment, please mail it to me directly at [email protected]

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