Is this whole Apple/ATT 3G a fraud?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by ktemkin, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. ktemkin macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2007
    Long-time Apple fan (128K Mac in 1984). Purchased iPhone3G on release day.

    Over the past two weeks have noticed that, except for the demo that was given with my phone at the time I purchased it, I have NEVER gotten more than two bars in 3G--most of the time it is just the single dot. As a result, 3G performance is poor. My first gen. iPhone on EDGE performs better than the new iPhone3G.

    Now, we are not talking here about a problem with some obscure functionality of the iPhone3G. We are talking about the primary and preeminent feature of this new phone--the fact that it is usable as a 3G phone.

    Went to AT&T store (Highland Park, IL). Two, long-time employees said that they have never seen a iPhone3G with more than two bars in 3G mode. They said that that was normal. They have a cell tower (that they said was 3G-enabled) about 1,500 feet north of the store. I checked AT&T's coverage viewer and that AT&T store, as well as most of the Chicago area, are in the deep blue coverage area, indicating 3G reception just about everywhere I use the phone. The store employees said that because their other-brand 3G phones show five-bar reception, they assume it is an Apple issue.

    After leaving the store I drove in an approximate 1/2-mile diameter circle around the cell tower because the AT&T people said that the signal was not omni-directional. They said the signal was stronger in the opposite direction from their store. My drive showed no difference in any direction around the cell-site.

    Made a genius bar appointment and went to Apple store (Northbrook Court). While waiting in the store for the appointment, I found I had all five bars on 3G even though I was deep in a store in an enclosed mall. This was the first time I had ever seen the phone with this kind of reception (except for the day I bought it). Embarrassed at the situation, when my name was called, I jokingly asked the genius if they had a cell-site in the store. To my amazement, he said "yes"!!!

    So, You try out your new iPhone3G in the store and it display tremendous performance because, unbeknownst to you, you are only 100 feet from a cell-site (or, likely, just a repeater). Not far outside of the store (200 feet), the coverage drops off and you are back to the same old poor 3G reception.

    This is almost like fraud!!!

    I've been sold something and shown that it does work in the store, but once "in the wild" that same performance is unavailable, even though the carrier, AT&T, proffers maps showing availability.

    It's not like I am out in the boonies here. This is Chicago. Home of Motorola and the first cellphone.

    I'm a pretty easy-going guy, but this is starting to piss me off. AT&T points the finger at Apple and Apple points the finger at AT&T.

    What gives here?
  2. NotFound macrumors 6502a


    Nov 30, 2006
    Doesn't AT&T offer a 30 return policy if you aren't satisfied with your cellular service? May be an option?
  3. Knolly macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2007
    Wasn't aware of the repeater thing but not necessarily surprised... I'm guessing you asked at the Apple Store in Northbrook?

    Mainly commenting since I got a 3G from the same store as you and thus I found it interesting, haha.

    ANYHOW, just to not, 3G coverage in our area is really poor. Outside it tends to be pretty good but that's about it. I used to have a RAZR V9, which is essentially considered one of the best ATT phones in terms of signal according to the interwabs and also people at the ATT store, and got only decent coverage on it. When I was in there the other day a customer had one and interestingly enough one of the employees mentioned that they were surprised because it had five bars of reception in the store and they had never seen that on any other phone, haha.
  4. bluenoise macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2008
    I usually get 1-2 bars on 3G at my house, but I don't care about the bar count. To me, the more important factor is performance and I've yet to drop a call with my iPhone and I often get 1.2 Mbps or better for data. That said, I have seen my bars go to five on 3G and it was not near any stores.

    Maybe the reason Apple has a repeater in the store is so they can demonstrate the phones for customers. Is it fraud that some Land Rover dealerships have fake off-road courses on their lots for customers to try the off-roading capabilities?
  5. ktemkin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2007
    I don't think the Land Rover example is the same.

    If Land Rover showed you maps that said that all the roads in a 50-mile radius were just like the fake course you just played on, then yes, it would be fraud.

    Here Apple is in collusion with AT&T representing that 3G is available, quite densly, in the Chicago area and they demonstrate that 3G in the Apple store with a transmitter 100 feet away!!!
  6. IgnatiusTheKing macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2007
    das Fort
    I don't get great reception at home, but in most of Fort Worth (especially downtown) I get 4 or 5 bars.
  7. ktemkin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2007

    My complaint is not that 3G is not available everywhere.

    My complaint is that USEABLE 3G is not available ANYWHERE in the northern suburbs of Chicago.

    USEABLE meaning better than EDGE.

  8. WannaApple? macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2008
    I cant say or wont speculate on why Apple has a cell-site in store, but I am in a major metropolitan area with HUGE 3G coverage and I can range anywhere between 1-5 bars depending upon where I am. However, my point being, even when I am in a bar 1 area, like parts of my house, I have yet to have any problems with reception. So, Im beginning to believe that the bars on 3G are not an accurate representation of the phone reception, maybe just network reception?
    In any case, try out the phone even in 1-bar areas and see if it meets your requirements. If you dont have any problems with static-y reception, dropped calls, etc. maybe it wont bother you. If you do have reception problems in a 1-bar area, then you have to decide whether the phone is worth it to you or not.
    When I got my phone I was really worried as well because with my Razr I always got 5 bars everywhere...but once I got used to the phone and realized that my call reception was not being affected by how many bars I had, I stopped worrying about it and just enjoyed the phone.
  9. Ntombi macrumors 68040


    Jul 1, 2008
    Bostonian exiled in SoCal
    I've only had the phone for a day, but so far I've been getting 3+ bars on 3G all over the place. I'm in SoCal, where 3G has pretty much blanketed the area, which was one of the reasons I felt comfortable making the switch.
  10. ktemkin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2007

    I upgraded from the first gen iPhone because of 3G, not for anything having to do with voice reception. Watch all of Steve Job's presentations. The 3G has always been represented as benefiting the data side of the phone, not the voice side.

    The phone is fine for voice, but that is not why I upgraded and that is not why Apple developed and marketed the iPhone3G.
  11. zainjetha macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2007
    How deceitful... Absolutely shocking.. Called marketing...
  12. random person macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2008
    Not terribly different from what you get when you try to buy a Hi Def TV and they show you closed loop footage and tell you that your picture at home will be as good if not better. Apple is NOT taking a position about how 3G coverage will be where you live or work, and is not implying or specifically saying that your phone will perform the same way as it does in the store.
    Or at least, Apple is not deliberately being fraudulent the way the TV salesmen are!
  13. aft macrumors regular

    Sep 18, 2007
    Man that is really crazy, I'm sitting in my house in the suburbs of Toledo, OH in an area that on AT&T's map says that I'm outside of coverage and I have 5 bars and perfect 3G (so no 3G is not a fraud). I can't believe a city like Chicago would have so many problems. Do you personally know someone else that has an iPhone 3G, maybe there's is something wrong with just your device. Sorry to here you're having issues.:confused:
  14. ktemkin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2007
    The difference is that Apple and AT&T have a business relationship. The local TV dealer and the cable company are NOT related.

    Suppose Ferrari had a car that they sold in a special arrangement, where you were only allowed to fill-up at Shell gas stations (Ferrari and Shell worked together on some kind of business arrangement).

    And supposed that this Ferrari only ran like a Ferrari on premium gas and when you test drove the car it performed like, well, a Ferrari.

    And, when you signed up for the Shell credit card that you were required to have, they gave you a map of all the Shell gas stations in the area that sold premium gas for your Ferrari. On the map, the gas stations were everywhere and they all sold premium.

    You pull out of the Ferrari dealership and you go to fill-up your Ferrari at the nearest Shell gas station and, guess what, they are out of premium gas. The guy at the gas station says that Shell hasn't dropped-off premium in a month, but you can fill-up your car with regular.

    So, you fill you new Ferrari up with regular and it performs like a 3-cylinder Suzuki.

    For the next two weeks you stop at every Shell gas station and every one is out of premium. The same story: Shell isn't delivering premium to its gas stations.

    Wouldn't you be pissed!!!

    Get the analogy?

    I bought a Ferrari (iPhone3G) and was told that the premium gas (3G network) was out there and available.

    At least with the Ferrari example, before I plopped down my $300,000 for the Ferrari, I could have driven around and actually seen the availability of premium gasoline atthe gas stations.

    With a 3G network, how is an ordinary consumer supposed to determine, before he/she purchases, if the network is usable?
  15. rywat macrumors member

    Apr 5, 2008

    So, if the 3G voice is working well for you, the only question is how are your 3G browsing speeds? If the voice is good and you get good browsing speeds, then there is no problem. If the voice is good but you get crappy browsing speeds, then that would be a problem.
  16. Sobe macrumors 68000


    Jul 6, 2007
    Wash DC suburbs
    Look at the coverage map, try the phone. If you don't like your service, return it.
  17. Cynicalone macrumors 68040


    Jul 9, 2008
    Okie land
    I'm in Tulsa, OK. and I have 5 full bars on 3G. That's inside my condo, I'll attach a pic...

    Attached Files:

  18. ktemkin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2007
    Voice is fine. 3G data worse than EDGE.

    3G improvement is why Apple marketed this new phone and why I bought it.
  19. pcorrado macrumors 6502

    May 21, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    I am also in Chicago/Chicago land area and I have owned other 3G phones and signal strength has been about the same with all of them...and that is poor. In some areas its really strong (the loop and some western parts of the city (edgebrook area) and skokie in parts) -where I live (Elmwood Park) 3G is awful and I do drop calls when using it...but I only surf the web on 3G in my commute which i get decent 3G coverage on the speed as improved over the last 2 weeks as well, but it is still not as fast as it should is twice as fast as edge (which is 18 or kb/s according to inetwork and 3G is about 39-50 on average) but it is not the 1.2 mb/s people are reporting. I ust hope the network continues to improve...because I would like to not have to keep on switching 3G off.

    this brings up another point, because the signal is so weak here, the phone uses a lot of battery trying to if you are in Chicago and not surfing the web...turn of the 3G and your ihpone will double in battery life.
  20. jdylan macrumors regular


    Dec 31, 2006
    Bagram, Afghanistan
    Poor Guy

    Poor baby, please, send ME your iPhone! I live in a ****** little middle-eastern backwater that has one telephone company and has no plans to offer/sell the iPhone. Be happy you are even able to buy one and use it.
  21. BigD58 macrumors regular

    Mar 31, 2008
    North Carolina
    In charlotte nc I get all five bars with my 3g
  22. rannddeee macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2008
    La La Land, CA
    im in southern california, carson to be specific. reception sucks inside the house, usually 1 bar running EDGE. but when i step out of the house, its usually 3-5 bars on 3g.

    im fine with that because i don't need to have 3g inside the house...theres this thing called a computer that i can use.
  23. metman787 macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2007
    I live in NJ and it says I get full 3g coverage yet the most I get is 3 bars, but when I go to the middle of nowhere Delaware I get 5 bars. I think tall buildings really effect the coverage. I get great coverage in open areas like parks and beaches. It's confusing cause edge isn't available in these open areas to often
  24. rannddeee macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2008
    La La Land, CA
    stop complaining!!! the mets are in 1st! what more can you ask for!!!!

    just kidding!
  25. SlapMonkey macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2008
    Pretty drastic to scream "Fraud" don't you think?

    I'm getting 5 full bars here in Los Angeles/ Hollywood except inside my apartment where I only get 1 bar of 3G and 5 bars of Edge, but I usually turn off 3G anyway once inside my place since I have WiFi.

Share This Page