iPhone keeps switch from LTE to 4G (AT&T)

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by willdude, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    #1
    I'm sitting at a friend's apartment right now where I've always been able to use the LTE network, and my phone consistently stayed connected to it. Since last night, though, my phone keeps switching to 4G and not switching back. When I toggled LTE off and on, it'll switch to LTE with about 3 bars, and I'll get a consistent 6 Mbps down. But after about minute, it'll switch to 4G with 4 bars and about 2 Mbps down. It won't switch back to LTE unless I toggle LTE, and then again it'll only stay connected for about a minute then switch back to 4G.

    I've never seen this happen before here, and I suspect it has to do with updating to iOS 6.1 last week. It seems like there's a new feature where it'll prefer 4G over LTE if 4G has a stronger signal, despite the face that LTE would still have significantly higher speeds. Resetting network settings has not helped. Has anyone else seen this?
     
  2. macrumors 68040

    AutoUnion39

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #2
    It is seeking the stronger 3G signal over the weak LTE signal. Normal.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    #3
    I suppose this is theoretically possible, except that:

    a) In the 4+ months of having this phone, it's never had a problem maintaining an LTE connection in this exact spot. (Like, literally, the couch I'm sitting on.) It was fine up until last night, then started switch to 4G.

    b) The signal strength is, like, 3 bars versus 4. And even with the lower strength, LTE still gets 3x the download speed.

    Maybe it's just some problem with AT&T that'll work itself out.

    Random question which might be related: When you're on LTE and receive a call, the phone switches to 4G. How does the phone know to do this? I'm wondering if it's erroneously getting some sort of signal to switch to 4G in anticipation of a call which isn't actually coming.
     
  4. macrumors 68040

    AutoUnion39

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #4
    What's your location? Maybe something is off due to the recent storms (only possible if you're in the Northeast)
     
  5. macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2011
    #5
    YES, IT ISN'T JUST ME! LOL. I am having an issue just like this too. I am also on AT&T with an iPhone 5.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    #6
    Baltimore. No snow down here (but still cold). That's a pretty reasonable explanation, though. AT&T might be artificially kicking people down to 4G to prevent an overloaded LTE network in the Northeast, even in places on the fringes of the affected area.

    What's your location? How long have you been seeing this? Did it correspond to increased LTE usage (video streaming) like mine did?

    Edit: I'm wiling to bet this is the explanation.



    AT&T could be kicking people off LTE to make sure they get emergency notifications.
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    yeah

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    #7
    Since LTE can't handle Voice (until VoLTE is launched), the phone detects the phone signal to answer the call and shuts off the LTE antenna until the call is ended. All in a blink of an eye ;) (get my pun?) :p
     
  8. macrumors 6502

    Goaliegeek

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #8
    I've been having this issue as well, though worse. Found out it's an ATT/ATT iPhone issue. With me, I may get some LTE signal, then it will go away, along with all my cellular data service. My iPhone wont connect to any network (LTE/E/4G) unless I do an airplane mode toggle. Sometimes, it will go from LTE to 4G, but nothing happens. I try and load something and it just sits there. So I have to toggle. Happens to my friends iPhone as well. But my girlfriend's Verizon iPhone doesn't have any issues. She has full LTE everywhere. I'm lucky if I get any coverage (Denver metro area).
     
  9. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2010
    #9
    At&t

    This is how AT&T designed their network. Precisely they used their 700Mhz spectrum to deploy LTE. 700Mhz does not get attenuated as easily as higher frequency bands and has better building penetration. AT&T knowing this has stated that they are not upgrading every tower in each locality to LTE. instead they are upgrading towers to LTE only on some towers and skipping others. Because not everyone has LTE now, it doesn't make sense to make their LTE network so dense as their 3G network. Thus if a HSPA+ enabled tower is closer than another LTE tower further away your iPhone will prefer that better signal. As more and more AT&T customers uptake LTE phone AT&T will eventually upgrade all of their towers to LTE as needed. You can tell if a tower is LTE enabled by simply toggling back and forth between lte and 4g. If the signal bars changes for each you'll know you're standing next to an un upgraded tower.
     
  10. macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2011
    #10
    That makes a lot of sense! Thanks! :)

    It seems to me, though, that I used to get LTE in this area, but not anymore. Is the "switching technology" new/just implemented?
     
  11. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    #11
    This doesn't really explain, though, why I've always gotten LTE signal here before, but all of a sudden it started preferring 4G. Unless they just put up a 4G-only tower nearby on Friday night.

    I can say, though, that it's location/tower specific. Last night traveling around the city, I got LTE everywhere else except where I'm having the problem. And again, I just don't understand why it would prefer 4G when it's only 1 bar stronger and 1/3 the speed.
     
  12. macrumors 65816

    oplix

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #12
    I had a thread on this issue 1 week after release. It's really difficult to pinpoint the culprit since it can be software and/or hardware related.
     
  13. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Location:
    Pride of Colorado
    #13
    I'm having the same issue in Denver metro area. I called AT&T and they pointed me to Apple because it's a "device" issue. I'm going to the Apple store tomorrow. It's all a numbers game the more people that complain the more attention it will get.

    But here we go with the finger pointing game. I have a finger I'd like to show both of them at this point.
     
  14. v.pic, Feb 19, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013

    macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    Location:
    Killadelphia
    #14
    iPhone 5 on AT&T in Philadelphia, here.

    I had the same problem for awhile. After I finally called my carrier & had them reset the tower's connection to the SIM, things stabilized enough for me to realize what actually was kicking me
    off LTE time & time again:

    Passbook. Passbook, when fully enabled, checks your general location everytime you wake the iPhone. By realizing the correlation between the boot & the location arrow, I went to see which location service was consistently checking; & followed with reverting to 4G.

    It was Passbook, and I believe I know why. Rather than have GPS satellites search everytime you light up your phone, Passbook (I believe) uses the nearest cell tower.
    Well; the nearest cell tower to me is not LTE. It's 4G. However I do have LTE service.
    So I believe that everytime my phone looked to the nearest tower for location — I lost my 2-3 bar LTE connection, and just didnt get it back.

    As of now: for the first time since I've had my iPhone 5, I've been on solid LTE for almost an hour.
    Will any cell-tower location search cause the same behavior? Possibly. But at least now it won't occur everytime I go to use the phone.


    In other words; turn off Passbook location services, reset network settings, & have your carrier reset the network's connection to your phone.
    That should limit disconnection enough until those of us in work-in-progress LTE tower zones get better service.
     
  15. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    #15
    ok just call up att and they will credit you this month.
     
  16. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 28, 2013
    #16
    I just turned off Passbook location settings and now have my LTE signal back full time!
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    oplix

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #17
    Might need replacement SIM card. Had same issue when iPhone 5 just came out.
     
  18. macrumors regular

    alice04

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2013
    #18
    Hmmmm. Still confused. Is this a hardware problem or just AT&T? hehe
     
  19. macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

    Joined:
    May 16, 2013
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    #19
    Don't think it's just AT&T. I had similar issues on Verizon switching between LTE and 3G.
     
  20. macrumors 68040

    SpaceKitty

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Location:
    Fort Collins Colorado
    #20
    I don't have an iPhone 5 but an iPad Mini. I had to turn off LTE because we just don't have it in my area in Denver yet. The few times it did switch to LTE, it was slower then edge speeds and unusable.

    AT&T LTE still isn't built out yet everywhere.
     
  21. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2013
    #21
    I really thought I was the only one dealing with this issue.

    I'm coming from the Bay Area in California too. I used to work and live in Berkeley where I had that issue quite a bit. I thought that it was just the signal where I work because there are areas of Berkeley where I do not get reception at all (University ave). But I just started working in Palo Alto and live in Fremont, and yet I am still dealing with these problems in those areas too!
     
  22. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    #22
    Same issue with me - seems to happen more since 7.0.3 or 7.0.4 though.
     
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Xenc

    Joined:
    May 8, 2010
    Location:
    London, England
    #23
    I thought 4G and LTE are one and the same?
     
  24. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    #24
    Yes and no. "4G" on the 5s means that it's in HSPA+, not LTE. LTE is better.
     
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Xenc

    Joined:
    May 8, 2010
    Location:
    London, England
    #25
    iOS 6 only showed "LTE" for me. After upgrading to iOS 7 it only shows "4G". I wonder if the labels are network specific (EE UK).
     

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