AT&T 4G LTE Reception Significantly Worse Than 3G?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by itzcoolz, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. itzcoolz macrumors regular

    May 6, 2010
    i'm in San Diego, and recently purchased a new iPad. when I turn off LTE service, I get full bars in most parts of San Diego where I frequent (Mira Mesa, UTC, La Jolla, Hillcrest, Sorrento Valley). However, when I turn on LTE, i instantly drop to about 1 or 2 bars. The most I've seen is 3 bars, and this was very briefly.

    I understand that LTE coverage might not be the same as 3G, but the difference is troubling. Even with 1 or 2 bars, my speeds are great, but my concern is that there is no LTE coverage (0 bars) in places where I get 3-4 bars of 3G service.

    One possibility is that this drop in reception might be caused by the fact that I put on a screen protector on the back, but I don't think that should affect reception that much.

    Is this normal?
  2. dontwalkhand macrumors 601


    Jul 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    When it can't find LTE Service, it should automatically go to 3G
  3. itzcoolz thread starter macrumors regular

    May 6, 2010
    i understand, but my concern is that the service for LTE is consistently 3-4 bars weaker than its 3G counterpart. I realize this is possible in selected spots due to coverage issues, but I am surprised that it would be this way all throughout San Diego.

    I'm concerned that there might be an issue with my iPad and LTE reception.

    do other users have similar issues (where LTE signal is consistently much weaker than 3G signals)?
  4. bidwalj macrumors 65816

    Feb 16, 2007
    The lte network is completely different than the 3G network. Lte is not an upgrade to the existing network like hspa+ was. You notice the difference as the lte network isn't as built out as the old 3G network.
  5. itzcoolz thread starter macrumors regular

    May 6, 2010
    thanks, but my concern is that i'm not getting more than 2 bars in 98% of San Diego regions and NEVER getting more than 3 bars, even where I get 4-5 full 3G bars easily in San Diego. Is the difference this pronounced?
  6. joeshmo2010 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    Dude, there's hardly any LTE towers so the coverage is very spotty. It's a completely separate network than the 3G network. Just like how some people can have 5 bars of edge but only 1 bar of 3G when it's turned on
  7. RCtennis3811 macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2011
    Not every tower with HSPA+ has LTE yet, so there's that. In addition, the "formula" for calculating signal strength on LTE is so new that carriers/manufacturers are still messing around with it. For example, 3 bars of LTE does not equate signal strength equal to that of HSPA+.
  8. dstar macrumors regular

    May 3, 2010
    I don't get AT&T LTE at my house (yet), however turning "LTE" on in cellular settings impacts my connectivity.

    With LTE off my 3G speed averages about 1.5 down and .50 up give or take a little. When LTE is turned on it drops into the .0x range both up and down and sometimes it won't connect at all.

    I'm not sure what that's all about.
  9. AllieNeko macrumors 65816

    Sep 25, 2003
    That just doesn't sound right to me, nope. If you've never seen more than three bars... but granted, I've never seen LTE bars here in Montana LOL.
  10. iMaconApple macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2009
    Sunny Diego
    Yeah I'm here in San Diego too I'm on AT&T new iPad I'm getting 2 bars most the time..but it don't bother me because when I do speed test I get a around 40mb down load and 17up
  11. sparkomatic macrumors 6502a


    Jun 8, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    I think Southern California is just "not quite there yet" with LTE coverage. I'm in Orange County and get 1-2 bars of LTE all the time. I've also seen posts here from people in LA saying the same thing.

    Hopefully, coverage will get better soon.
  12. RCtennis3811 macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2011
    Both LTE networks from Verizon and AT&T aren't "there yet" as LTE is still being rolled out on sites in cities blanketed by LTE. It'll come though!
  13. jburns macrumors regular

    May 1, 2007
    Montana? Here's a tip. Wrap the string around the iPad twice and put the tin can directly over the antenna. :D
  14. Maven1975 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    Was just in Montana and found our AT&T had much better speeds than the Verizon iPad 3's. (Stevensville & Missoula) 3G obviously
  15. andyblila macrumors 65816


    Jul 8, 2008
    On My iPhone, or my iPad?
    It's fine. I have 2 bars right now in Chula Vista and am getting incredible speeds.
  16. BFizzzle macrumors 68020


    May 31, 2010
    Austin TX
    yes but lte on one bar, is faster than 3g on 5 bars ;)
  17. bidwalj macrumors 65816

    Feb 16, 2007
    I rarely see full bars on my iPad here in the bay area with lte here in the bay area with verizon and usually see full bars of 3G with my iPhone.

    The iPad in general has a strong lte radio. I can get a couple bars indoors where the galaxy nexus gets nothing. Verizon hopes to be fully converted to lte by next year so figures crossed we start to see better indoor rf.
  18. Maven1975 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    I just exchanged my Verizon iPad for an AT&T one. Would rather have HSPA+ speeds when no LTE is available. The difference in my area is massive.

    North Phoenix
  19. engelke2010 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2010
    Last week I exchanged my AT&T for a Verizon one. My HSPA+ speed with AT&T was considerably worse than 3G. It wasn't fun to exchange it. My nearest Apple store said I had to stand in line even to exchange. Thankfully there was another Apple store I could go to in another town, even though it was about 10 miles away, which is not too close by public transportation. I'm very happy with the Verizon one, though I never thought I would be happy with anything Verizon again.
  20. AllieNeko macrumors 65816

    Sep 25, 2003
    Correct, AT&T in general (including Montana) is MUCH faster than Verizon unless you have Verizon LTE service. However, at the rate LTE is growing on Verizon, that'll be everywhereish soon enough. They've promised Montana by the end of 2012...

    I still got an AT&T iPad though. Here's why:

    1. Better coverage. AT&T covers (in my state, this varies) a far larger area than Verizon, and is growing much faster.

    2. It's faster, today. Sure Verizon will have LTE somewhere in the state (my guess - Missoula, Helena, Great Falls, Billings, Bozeman, Butte - but who knows maybe more or less than that). But AT&T has UMTS HSPA+. Today. Basically everywhere. And it blows CDMA2000 EVDO out of the water.

    3. It doesn't matter much. HSPA+ is fast enough to load web pages comfortably. The caps are too low to do anything more. AT&T gives you 3GB to play with, Verizon a measly 2GB. Both suck, but at least with AT&T you've got 50% longer until you hit the low cap...

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