Print 48 comment(s) - last by Jalek.. on Oct 18 at 12:42 AM

  (Source: The Huffington Post)

When one NYC iPhone customer complained that many of his calls were dropping, Apple informed him that his 22 percent drop rate was much better than its average NYC customer's 30 percent dropped call rate.  (Source: Gizmodo)
"It just works" -- Apple Inc.

Apple is famous for its advertising that its products are easy to use and problem free.  Thus, when it is confronted with problems in its products, it's perhaps predictable that it would get a bit defensive.  It often glosses over complaints or stretches the definition of the word "working".  Despite some signs that it was turning a corner, responding to hard drive issues on its MacBook Pros, a recent report from Gizmodo indicates more of the same.

A customer named Manoj Gupta took his iPhone to the local Apple Genius Bar when he became frustrated with its tendency to frequently drop his calls.  The Genius Bar gave Mr. Gupta some good news -- his iPhone was perfectly fine and working and needed no repairs.

The bad news?  The phone dropped over 22 percent of the calls it made in the test routine.  But the Genius Bar printout reassured Mr. Gupta that 22 percent call drop rates were actually quite good -- and that most of AT&T's iPhone customers have 30 percent or more of their calls drop.

Granted, Apple may be getting more than the fair share of its criticism for this egregious claim, but its lack of concern and its customers plight and its decision to partner with AT&T, whose network is obviously not up to snuff, are an invitation to such critique.  As for AT&T, it seems hard to believe that it will be able to retain many customers in areas where its dropping 30 percent of their calls.  While call drop rates are traditionally higher in New York City, they're seldom that high.

AT&T is offering a solution to their customers -- buy their own 3G hotspot for $150.  AT&T will soon be rolling out its MicroCell, a femtocell device that will offer a bubble of 3G coverage.  It is unclear, though, whether customers will be required to subscribe to one of AT&T's unlimited calling bundles ($20/month) to use the device.

AT&T and Apple are confident that their customers will stick with them -- even if they drop 30 percent of their calls in some areas.  And AT&T feels that it is giving customers plenty of options, allowing them to subscribe to an extra service to help fix the shortcomings of its network.

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That's pretty bad, but...
By mmntech on 9/30/2009 5:01:23 PM , Rating: 3
30% dropped calls with the iPhone in NYC is pretty bad but from what I hear bad phone service is pretty common in the city across all networks. I've personally have never experienced dropped calls using my iPhone on Rogers/FIDO here in Canada. Not with any other phone for I've owned for that matter on different networks. I live in the Toronto suburbs. It's more of an AT&T problem than an Apple one.

RE: That's pretty bad, but...
By Lord 666 on 9/30/2009 5:07:43 PM , Rating: 5
Bullshit. With my VZW BB Tour and all of our 100 other VZW phones, never had any issue in NYC. It's really the AT&T network thats the problem.

RE: That's pretty bad, but...
By Souka on 9/30/2009 5:20:13 PM , Rating: 5
Kinda strange... my previous company had about 100 smart phones from Verizon, ATT, Sprint, T-mobile in NYC... only time people complained about dropped calls were the classic "when I drove into the garage" or "got onto an elevator"

I will say that we prohibited iPhones... and were probably about 75% of the devices were Blackberry...

I myself had no issues with my phone in NYC (Verizon) and I was constantly on it...going in and out of buildings and elevators. (no garages for me.. I walked mostly, with some taxi use).

My $.02

RE: That's pretty bad, but...
By Spivonious on 10/1/09, Rating: 0
RE: That's pretty bad, but...
By ebakke on 10/1/2009 8:22:35 AM , Rating: 3
It makes sense for telecos to put repeaters in the subway lines so commuters have cell service through their entire commute. It doesn't make economic/business sense, on the other hand, to add a repeater in a garage or elevator shaft.

RE: That's pretty bad, but...
By Lord 666 on 10/1/2009 11:08:24 AM , Rating: 2
What's being discussed in NYC is to have cell service provided at subway stations.

The valid concern providing end-to-end coverage in the tubes is terrorism using a mobile phone activated bomb. Not long ago, there was a heated debate to terminate the leaky coax cable that services the Lincoln and Holland Tunnel. Eventually, the need for phone service was recognized as a greater need than the potential terrorism threat.

RE: That's pretty bad, but...
By Souka on 10/1/2009 11:14:37 AM , Rating: 1
Just eliminate the people from the subway tunnels...then you don't have to worry about any terrorism threat.

Oh wait... nvm

RE: That's pretty bad, but...
By sebmel on 10/7/2009 10:44:43 AM , Rating: 2
Well NOW there's a choice: Windows Mobile 6.5 is OUT!

And to such good reviews too:

Last week, here on DT, the regulars were bravely taking one for Steve, saying Ballmer is doing a GREAT job despite losing over half the capital value of the company, over $10 billion on the Xbox and several points of Windows Mobile market share. Well, those reviews show just how good!

RE: That's pretty bad, but...
By maven81 on 10/1/2009 1:27:29 PM , Rating: 2
Why does that make sense? I like the fact that the NYC subway doesn't have cell service. It means I can ride it in peace most of the time. Imagine being next to someone who's chatting away on their cell phone for half an hour or more? It also forces most people to read instead, which isn't a bad thing.

RE: That's pretty bad, but...
By Jackattak on 10/1/2009 1:50:34 PM , Rating: 2
I absolutely CANNOT STAND when some squawky bink gets on the MAX here in Portland and interrupts everyone else's smooth and quiet ride.

What's worse is they generally sit directly underneath the "please be courteous to others and lower your voice" signage.

I pray for when we hit the tunnels on those days.

RE: That's pretty bad, but...
By tmouse on 10/2/2009 7:58:07 AM , Rating: 2
It would make it harder to tell who is really talking to someone and who is just talking to the voices in their heads.

RE: That's pretty bad, but...
By hands on 10/1/2009 8:26:49 AM , Rating: 3
Tunnels are a special case for telcoms. They actually have specific equipment to provide service in tunnels. Cell techs I've talked to call it a "leaky feed."

Garages and elevator shafts are a different story.

RE: That's pretty bad, but...
By nafhan on 10/1/2009 8:59:17 AM , Rating: 3
Verizon works pretty well in the Washington DC subway (Metro), but from what I understand, that's due to repeaters.
If you have enough metal, concrete, or earth between you and the nearest cell towers, it doesn't matter what network you're on.

RE: That's pretty bad, but...
By Motoman on 9/30/2009 5:24:36 PM , Rating: 5
To be fair to both parties, you'd have to have compare the same device on different networks, and different devices on the same network. Since AT&T is exclusive with the iPhoney (jailbroken units notwithstanding), that's not going to happen.

Basically, if iPhones on multiple networks dropped calls 30% of the time, then the iPhone is the problem. If a dozen different devices on AT&T drop calls 30% of the time, then AT&T is the problem (granted that the same devices could be tested on other networks, to ensure you don't have a dozen crappy devices). That would be what you'd have to do to truly find the problem.

RE: That's pretty bad, but...
By bohhad on 9/30/2009 7:44:23 PM , Rating: 4
The way they are locked at the hip, a problem for one is a problem for the other.

RE: That's pretty bad, but...
By mmntech on 9/30/2009 5:58:59 PM , Rating: 3
IDK, I just heard Opie & Anthony talking about it maybe a year ago. There's was also something on TV about it. I've never tested it myself obviously.

RE: That's pretty bad, but...
By Bateluer on 9/30/2009 5:10:21 PM , Rating: 3
I've been with Verizon since 2004, across 3 different cell phones. I can count on one hand how many of my calls have dropped. 22%, let alone 30%, of all calls being dropped is unacceptable and I'd drop AT&T over that.

RE: That's pretty bad, but...
By Alexstarfire on 10/1/2009 1:59:57 AM , Rating: 2
So k, I'm on AT&T and don't have any dropped calls. I have had problems making calls sometimes, though rare in itself, but it could very well be my phone. Not like my phone doesn't have it's share of oddities.

I can really only think of one person I call where the call gets dropped, but I'm not the one dropping it's the other person. Which became very obvious when the called dropped while I was using our landline. She lives in Taiwan with bad cell and internet service so it's not uncommon for it to happen when we talk. It's quite frustrating, but I can't fix it.

Aplle/ATT's own RROD?
By Manch on 9/30/2009 8:13:35 PM , Rating: 3
If it's dropping 30% that's BS. What I want to know is if other handsets on ATT are having the same drop rate. Microsoft got the riot act for the RROD and rightly so. @ 30% where's the outrage towards Apple/ATT?

RE: Aplle/ATT's own RROD?
By inighthawki on 9/30/2009 10:23:03 PM , Rating: 2
i dont have a smart phone nor using any 3G stuff or anything like that, but i have a RAZR on the AT&T network (for several years now) and i have only had about one dropped call ever. The service is excellent for me and the only places I can't get service are in places where many phones don't (IE garages or underground rooms, etc)

So all of the iphones do this, not just the 3g ones for example, then it's probably not AT&T, since i've had excellent coverage in Ohio and NY state

RE: Aplle/ATT's own RROD?
By Jalek on 10/18/2009 12:42:39 AM , Rating: 2
Similar here, my RAZR was solid on AT&T.
My iPhone had a couple of dropped calls on 3.0, then there was a point release not long ago, and it was dropping most calls. You could sit still and watch it go from full bars to zero and drop the call, stay with no signal for 20-30 seconds, then go back to full bars again.

The current version's doing ok, I suspect that was an Apple issue rather than AT&T's service. I also have a blackberry on Verizon and it hasn't dropped a call yet, though coverage isn't substantially better or worse.

By zerocool84 on 9/30/2009 7:21:20 PM , Rating: 3
I just don't understand iPhone people cus AT&T is the worst for coverage of the Big 3. Verizon/Sprint are worlds better in coverage and reliability than AT&T. What's the good of having a iPhone if you can't ever use it? I live in LA and know many people who bought a Mifi and carry it with them cus AT&T's coverage is so horrible. AT&T charges high prices for bad service.

By Omega215D on 9/30/2009 10:46:45 PM , Rating: 3
Cell coverage isn't perfect no matter who the provider is or the wireless technology being used. Though I can say that in all the places I've been my Verizon phone is much more reliable than my ATT or T-Mobile phones (yes I had 3 at one point) doesn't mean others will have the same experience.

CDMA is known to have better signal penetration, volume and clarity but GSM is a worldwide standard.

By axias41 on 10/1/2009 8:45:54 AM , Rating: 2
In my 3rd world country, Italy, 5% would be a very bad performance. I don't even remember last time I have experienced a dropped call.

RE: 30%???
By d3872 on 10/1/2009 11:53:55 AM , Rating: 2
Italy is a first world country.

RE: 30%???
By axias41 on 10/1/2009 12:51:53 PM , Rating: 2
I'm italian, I was ironic (to a certain point, you'd understand if you lived here ).

Getting worse!
By phylop on 9/30/2009 5:07:21 PM , Rating: 2
I live in the Washington, DC area and my iPhone has started dropping every other call randomly over the past few months, it's getting pretty bad.

For example, when I was driving home from work today I let my friend borrow my iPhone to make a phone call and it dropped his call 3 times, and it wasn't in areas of low coverage.

RE: Getting worse!
By Souka on 9/30/2009 5:24:04 PM , Rating: 3
I kinda suspect it's not ATT, but rather the iPhone and ATT getting along in certain areas like NYC..

Reason for my thought...
...if it was just ATT, they'd be toast.
...If it was just iPhone, then I would expect at least some outcry from the Apple community (yes I know they're drugged by the Apple culture...but %30 normal?).

So I suspect it's both...primarly iPhone obviously as other devices don't seem to be a problem (?).

My $.02

By chrnochime on 10/1/2009 10:09:41 AM , Rating: 3
It's posted by a site which has bias towards Apple stuff. Post the same comments here saying that 30% is pathetic over there, and very likely you'll get banned.

RE: .
By weskurtz0081 on 10/1/2009 10:45:48 AM , Rating: 2
I want to get banned! What site is it?

Verizon has negligible drop rate in NYC
By LongTimePCUser on 9/30/2009 5:10:10 PM , Rating: 1
I live in Manhattan and use a Verizon cell phone.
I rarely ever have a dropped phone call.

I only places I can't connect consistenly is underground in the subways.

By Lord 666 on 9/30/2009 5:16:01 PM , Rating: 1
Thank god for another NYC based person on DT.

While I don't live there (I'm along the NJ shore), work in Midtown.

By Omega215D on 9/30/2009 10:42:21 PM , Rating: 2
It also depends on the handset you have. Some phones can get service where others would have a problem. I find that my LG enV Touch is getting service in many train stations where my RAZR wouldn't. I was even surprised to have my phone ring while on the Broadway line in Manhattan (Prince St.).

Besides it's been noted everywhere that the iPhone has mediocre call quality and strength even in places where other ATT phones have had near landline quality. Yet the iPhone still gets awards and stuff but it can't really do what its name implies: Be a reliable PHONE. Granted GSM towers can be overwhelmed in large cities during peak hours (CDMA is a little better at dealing with these things).

I blame Apple
By HrilL on 9/30/2009 7:54:03 PM , Rating: 2
I almost never had dropped calls on At&t with my old LG phone. It was a first gen 3G phone. I think I might have had 3 dropped calls with that phone but definately less then 10 for the time I had it. A little over 2 years. First gen iPhone worked fine. didn't really have dropped calls on edge and I don't really get dropped calls on edge currently with my 3G on 2G mode. When my 3g is on 3g text can take a day to get to my phone sometimes. (making texting pointless) I would say I get a 20-30% drop rate for sure even when you're in one location without moving outdoors. The LG was a lot better about not dropping calls. I don't think apples firmware fix for the 3G chip ever really fixed the problem it just seemed like that made it show it had more bars without actually having more bars.

By dryloch on 9/30/2009 8:27:47 PM , Rating: 2
they start taking better advantage of their roaming agreement with Verizon. My whole company is on Sprint because we tried ATT and everyone hated it. We still have coverage problems in some areas and I am convinced these would not be a problem if Sprint let us roam more. The phones won't switch to roaming unless you have zero coverage on Sprint. With the great new handsets like the HTC Hero and Touch Pro 2 coming out now as well as their new plans with free mobile to mobile regardless of carrier I think Sprint is really onto something. You would only need a 400 minute plan because who do you call that is not on a cellphone? Not too many people in our case.

By SoulBlighter on 9/30/2009 8:46:20 PM , Rating: 2
When it comes to call drops, crappy voice and signal issues, it is not just the carrier but also the hand set been used. In my experience, it is more ATT than Iphone for dropping calls. My father used to be die hard ATT customer till last Jan, when he started having calling problems, call drops and fewer signal issues from ATT, which worked perfect for him since past 8 years. Iphone when comes to signal strength compared to other devices isn't great but not bad as well, so we cant blame all to device where as ATT network is choked due to high demand and usage of smart phones and not upgrading the infrastructure in that regard is the main reason why people having problems using ATT not just with iphone but any other smart phones as well.
P.S. With their current rate of upgrading their infrastructure it may take two years or more for ATT to give satisfactory performance

Dropped Calls
By btc909 on 10/1/2009 2:09:05 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is the AT&T network. I dumped Cingular years ago & stuck with Verizon ever since.

Now for Apple to say 30% is acceptable, that is just insane.

I see hard times for Apple once Windows 7 rolls out.
The love affair with Apple may finally end.

By ChrisTalk on 10/1/2009 11:33:45 AM , Rating: 2
I switched my whole family from Verizon to AT&T several months ago. I had two dropped calls with Verizon with 4 different smart phones over 6 years and when I got the iPhone I had 6 dropped calls in the first week. Don't get me wrong - I love the iPhone but two of my family members needed to have more reliable reception so they ditched the iPhone and got another phone with AT&T and they get better service without the iPhone (but still miles from Verizon's steller call service). My son has 4 bars when I have no service so I know it not just the crappy AT&T service it's also the iPhone! Not sure how long even I will put up with that!

By chenjf on 10/1/2009 1:59:57 PM , Rating: 2
So, to get to 22%, one of the quickest way to get there is to do 9 calls with 2 calls dropping. 2/9 = ~22.2222%. I wonder if the Apple Genius decided not to do the 10th call and thus have it drop too; making it 3/10 calls dropped; thus matching the 30% that this "Genius" was saying what general users were getting dropped.

By Randomblame on 10/1/2009 7:20:10 PM , Rating: 2
apple genious = oxymoron

Deal with it
By kb9fcc on 9/30/09, Rating: -1
RE: Deal with it
By sadffffff on 9/30/2009 6:56:12 PM , Rating: 2
in a word, thats bullshit. not what youre saying, but rather that practice. they need to stop taking subscribers or get a bigger better network.

there is no defending it. its a horrible way of running things.

RE: Deal with it
By Josh7289 on 9/30/2009 7:31:38 PM , Rating: 2
Keep drinking the Kool-Aid.

But seriously, listen to yourself. 30% dropped calls is in absolutely no way "pretty good" or "a feature". It's unacceptable. Even if there are technical reasons, they're not excuses, and any company with a call failure rate that high had better be devoting all their resources to fixing it.

RE: Deal with it
By kb9fcc on 9/30/09, Rating: 0
RE: Deal with it
By Odysseus145 on 9/30/2009 7:32:59 PM , Rating: 2
ATT can't meet the needs of its subscribers. That is a failure.

RE: Deal with it
By Scrogneugneu on 9/30/2009 8:24:38 PM , Rating: 2
As long as its subscribers still give them money, it isn't a failure.

Sad, but true.

RE: Deal with it
By MadMan007 on 9/30/2009 9:50:28 PM , Rating: 2
Once people are in a contract they feel locked in and are much less likely to change. So while the subscriptions do continue it doesn't always mean good service.

RE: Deal with it
By ExarKun333 on 10/1/2009 11:21:57 AM , Rating: 2

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