Print 39 comment(s) - last by highlandsun.. on Jan 13 at 9:00 PM

Google handset reportedly drops 3G connections frequently

There is inherent risk in being the first to get a new device. Early adopters often enjoy being the first on the block with a new gadget. However, when things go wrong with a new device, the early adopters are often the ones left frustrated with devices that may or may not work as advertised.

Early adopters of the Nexus One on the T-Mobile network are reporting significant issues with 3G service on the handset. According to hoards of posts to the Google public forums, the Nexus One is switching from 2G to 3G networks on a whim and many are unable to use their data service reliably. Some users report no access to 3G connectivity at all.

InformationWeek quotes one forum poster saying, "I upgraded from a Blackberry Pearl to the Nexus One. I cannot get any 3G service as of yet. Don't know what the problem is. T-Mobile and HTC support weren't able to help."

Some reports are claiming that HTC has acknowledged that there is an issue with the phone. However, Betanews reports that HTC has not officially acknowledged that there is an issue with the handset, which it builds for Google. The confusion seems to stem from a forum posting by HTC workers looking for more information on the issue.

Fingers are being pointed in all directions at this point with some blaming HTC, some blaming Google, and some blaming T-Mobile. It’s too early in the process for anyone to say definitively what is causing the issues at this point.

An HTC spokesperson told Betanews, "While the majority of Nexus One owners have been thrilled with their experience, HTC is aware that some owners have reported having some technical issues with their Nexus One devices. HTC, Google, and T-Mobile take all such reports very seriously, and are working closely together to determine what issues may be behind these reports."

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From a Nexus One owner...
By killerroach on 1/12/2010 12:51:02 PM , Rating: 2
...yes, this is a real thing. Every so often, the phone decides not to want to pick up the 3G signal in the area and sticks with EDGE instead. Then, a few minutes later, it finds it again, and the process repeats itself. The G1 I used to have was better at holding a 3G signal than this.

Overall, this is an annoying situation, but not much more than that at present. (Then again, T-Mobile just expanded 3G service into this area about three weeks ago, so it's probably less frustrating for me than it is for others.) Only have really felt the pain of it when trying to use the 3G connection to download music from Amazon, but again, that's only something I've been able to do recently (and then promptly hooked my phone back up to WiFi; problem solved).

Overall, I've been very, very impressed with the phone over the G1 I used to own; it's responsive, capable, and has pretty good battery life (was able to get about 5 hours of playing back h.264 video with the screen's brightness at max, with a couple of apps running in the background still like my Twitter and Google Reader clients), not to mention that gorgeous display, but it's just this one issue that's somewhat tarnishing the whole experience.

RE: From a Nexus One owner...
By bhieb on 1/12/2010 12:59:11 PM , Rating: 2
On a side note. I have an iPhone, and have the exact opposite problem. I live in an are that is has spotty 3G coverage (I know amazing with ATT huh?). The iPhone tends to hold on to a 3G signal with 0 bars far too long before hoping back to edge. Most times I manually switch it to airplane mode and back to reset the comm link.

RE: From a Nexus One owner...
By nikon133 on 1/12/2010 3:28:58 PM , Rating: 2
Heh, my iPhone (likewise my wife's, and a few others I came across) is doing exactly the same here on Vodafone network in Auckland, New Zealand.

Worst part is - on spots where my iPhone gives 0 bars (and occasionally "No Service"), company phone I'm also carrying during the work hours works just fine; it is Nokia E63. Likewise, previous phones we were using for work, Blackberry Pearls, were also doing fine on same spots (easy to check since one of those spots is the office corner where my desk is).

I haven't come across too many such spots, but still - iPhone signal reception seems to be poor. All in all, iPhone is nice device, but bellow average phone.

I'm wondering if iPhone itself is not the reason for so many complains about AT&T network, rather than network itself. Are non-iPhone users of AT&T experiencing the same problems, anyway?

RE: From a Nexus One owner...
By bhieb on 1/13/2010 9:17:53 AM , Rating: 2
I think there is something hardware related causing this particular problem, but when I do have a good 3G signal it works fine. However I don't have another one on hand to know when I should have a signal but don't.

RE: From a Nexus One owner...
By Alexstarfire on 1/12/2010 2:14:18 PM , Rating: 2
How do you get EDGE on T-mobile? Isn't EDGE only for AT&T?

RE: From a Nexus One owner...
By jonup on 1/12/2010 5:54:51 PM , Rating: 2
EDGE is compatable with all GSM networks, which includes T-mobile. However, in my area I only get GPRS on the T-mobile net.

RE: From a Nexus One owner...
By Omega215D on 1/13/2010 12:29:26 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, I haven't heard GPRS since 2004. Since then it's been EDGE this, EDGE that and now it's 3G/ WCDMA/ LTE/ HSDPA and other new alphabet soup technology.

Oh, the humanity!
By Motoman on 1/12/2010 12:34:10 PM , Rating: 5
AT&T's next commercial: "See, this thing sucks as much as we do, so you may as well buy an iPhone anyway."

RE: Oh, the humanity!
By melgross on 1/12/2010 1:18:42 PM , Rating: 1

T-Mobile's 3G coverage is much less than AT&T's 3G.

T-Mobile's 2G coverage is much less than AT&T's 2G.

Both companies have much less 3G coverage than Verizon.

But at least AT&T has 2.5G which while slower is much faster than T-Mobiles 2G, and it covers almost the entire US other than the mountains and deserts.

3G map

2.5G map

Again, compared to T-Mobile's coverage map, where medium purple is 2G, and dark purple (look hard to find it!) is 3G

RE: Oh, the humanity!
By chick0n on 1/12/10, Rating: -1
RE: Oh, the humanity!
By cmdrdredd on 1/12/10, Rating: 0
RE: Oh, the humanity!
By jonup on 1/12/2010 5:47:04 PM , Rating: 2
The T-mobile coverage link shows EDGE coverage. EDGE is 2.5G so stop contradicting yourself.

RE: Oh, the humanity!
By peebee on 1/12/2010 4:26:16 PM , Rating: 2
Full of win.

And then there's Google support to dea with.
By Justin Time on 1/12/2010 5:30:27 PM , Rating: 2
Please email your complaint, and we will try to respond in a few days. if *THAT* is going to work for a consumer product like a phone.

By highlandsun on 1/13/2010 9:00:54 PM , Rating: 2
None of this is a shock. I bought a G1 the day they went on sale, and had massive problems with it too. And T-mobile was clueless, and Google was utterly unresponsive. Google may be good at a lot of things, but providing customer support to people who just shelled out several hundred $$ for their POS hardware is definitely not one of their strong suits.

It's a shame they still haven't learned from the G1 experience. When I pay so much money for a piece of gear, I expect actual customer service, not "please send an email and we'll get back to you in 5-7 days." (which actually meant, we'll ignore you completely.) Arrogant, out-of-touch bastards.

There's a Map for That!
By sapiens74 on 1/12/2010 12:35:37 PM , Rating: 2

spotty coverage
By zinfamous on 1/12/2010 1:43:03 PM , Rating: 2
Where I live (Berkeley, CA), T-Mobile's 3G coverage is spotty, at best. it drops out every 100 or so feet, depending on where I am. the pockets of 3G coverage, let alone total network coverage, are somewhat unpredictable.

T-Mobile was great when I was in Chicago, but that was a few years before 3G was available. I was on Verizon 4 years between, and never had much problem--then again, I had no need for 3G, data, yadayada, so I can't really compare the two.

By sapiens74 on 1/12/10, Rating: -1
By SpinCircle on 1/12/2010 2:02:13 PM , Rating: 5
Well, the Nexus1 is not a droid, and isn't even on the same network... apparently you fail at the internet.

By bradmshannon on 1/12/10, Rating: -1
RE: T-Mobile
By SoulBlighter on 1/12/10, Rating: -1
RE: T-Mobile
By Alexstarfire on 1/12/2010 2:09:21 PM , Rating: 2
Yet ironically when my friend brought his present home from Google over Christmas break he was getting 3G service on the AT&T network around Atlanta. Guess it's not so crappy after all. :)

RE: T-Mobile
By invidious on 1/12/2010 2:47:42 PM , Rating: 1
I have had full 3g service on ATT everywhere I have gone in connecicut, massachusetts, new york and pennsylvania.

Please preface claims about service quality as the subjective opinions that they are.

RE: T-Mobile
By invidious on 1/12/2010 2:53:13 PM , Rating: 1
And for the record anyone buying a smartphone where 3G a major selling point without first considering the 3G coverage in their area is a fool. If ATT can convince said fools to sign up to crappy service at full price, more power to them.

RE: T-Mobile
By cmdrdredd on 1/12/2010 3:54:18 PM , Rating: 2
And for the record anyone buying a smartphone where 3G a major selling point without first considering the 3G coverage in their area is a fool. If ATT can convince said fools to sign up to crappy service at full price, more power to them.

It's not hard to do a little research before buying a phone and signing up for 2 years with a provider. I did that and found that ATT works fine in my area, no issues (south FL) and they had the device I wanted (iPhone). If the connection wasn't so hot in the area I would have had to decide whether having the iPhone was worth the issues, however severe or slight. People just don't do this. They buy the latest phone to say "look at my new shiznet yo" when they should actually be smart about their purchase and make sure what they're buying is actually going to work the way they want it to.

RE: T-Mobile
By Capt Caveman on 1/12/2010 5:36:53 PM , Rating: 2
AT&T 3G is great in MA which makes me a happy iPhone user.

RE: T-Mobile
By amanojaku on 1/12/2010 12:17:07 PM , Rating: 2
T-Mobile has its own 3G network, having supplemented it May 1, 2008 with the 1710-1755MHz and 2110-2155MHz bands. T-Mobile USA may be a small company, but it's part of T-Mobile International AG, which in turn is part of Deutsche Telekom. Deutsche Telekom has 250K employees and about 60B Euros in revenue. They don't need to borrow anything.

RE: T-Mobile
By rudy on 1/12/2010 12:58:02 PM , Rating: 3
The size of a company has nothing to do with needing to borrow anything. Even companies like walmart borrow stuff. The only thing that matters is if it is financially in the best insterest of the company or not. Lots of places in the US only grant limited liscenses to telecoms and in other places their simply are not enough people to justify your own panels who ever was there first lets everyone else borrow their towers. There used to be and still are some small carriers that let all the bigger carriers "borrow" their towers in localized areas.

RE: T-Mobile
By melgross on 1/12/2010 1:00:51 PM , Rating: 1
T-Mobile has, by far, the smallest network in the USA. Their 3G network is almost non-existent.

Note that the medium color is their 2G coverage, and that the dark color is their tiny 3G coverage areas. Areas, because they are so small they don't overlap.

Basically, once you are out of a small few big cities there is no 3G at all, and even 2G coverage is non existent over most of the country.

T-Mobile stinks.

Why do you think they have to charge less?

RE: T-Mobile
By chick0n on 1/12/2010 2:10:36 PM , Rating: 1
T-mobile stinks?

AT&T is garbage then

I have T-mobile, using Nexus One Since day 1 and never had a drop on 3G signal.

Sure AT&T has bigger 3g but its useless when you can't even make calls from it lmao.

RE: T-Mobile
By invidious on 1/12/2010 2:58:01 PM , Rating: 1
Dropped calls are a population density problem that is prevalent across almost all providers in major cities. It is not specific to AT&T and is certainly not universal throughout all of AT&T's service areas.

I never get dropped calls on AT&T.

RE: T-Mobile
By cmdrdredd on 1/12/2010 4:00:42 PM , Rating: 1
T-mobile stinks? AT&T is garbage then I have T-mobile, using Nexus One Since day 1 and never had a drop on 3G signal. Sure AT&T has bigger 3g but its useless when you can't even make calls from it lmao.

This doesn't matter. Your area might be ok, but this doesn't include the entire country or even your state. What you get in your local area is not indicative of the greater situation at all. Nice try.

Dropped calls are a population density problem that is prevalent across almost all providers in major cities. It is not specific to AT&T and is certainly not universal throughout all of AT&T's service areas. I never get dropped calls on AT&T.

This is the thing. ATT has the iPhone, how many ppl own an iPhone and are probably using the 3G network at any one time? You can't tell me that in many areas this right there is a prime issue. Now blame ATT or blame Apple if you want, but the fact of the matter is this. There's no way to know for certain if the number of users of 3G devices including the iPhone on ATT's network is causing many of the problems we hear about. You bring up a point that many people overlook because ATT bashing is cool and accepted anymore. The other issue I mentioned in another reply. People do little to no research on the devices and network they are buying into. Then when there's problems they cry foul. You have the entire internet to scour for info related to coverage area, speed, and can even ask people who have similar devices on the network how they like it overall. Nobody twists your arm and forces you to sign up for 2 years. You have a personal responsibility for your own spending and decisions.

RE: T-Mobile
By chick0n on 1/12/2010 8:18:41 PM , Rating: 2

You guys probably dont know that AT&T/Cingular has been "Sucking" even before iPhone came out.

So dont try to blame iPhone for overloading their whack ass services.

RE: T-Mobile
By Omega215D on 1/13/2010 12:24:07 AM , Rating: 2
Cingular was fine before ATT took over. I had T-Mobile, Cingular and Verizon. T-Mobile was cheap and good for most as they tend to stay in major cities. The more you travel though you either will be roaming or have no service. Cingular was by far better than T-Mobile but it still had some coverage issues but nothing serious, until ATT took it over then I've been experiencing pretty spotty service and it started going downhill a bit as a year or 2 passed so I decided to hop onto Verizon with a 30 day trial.

RE: T-Mobile
By rett448 on 1/13/2010 7:53:36 AM , Rating: 2
Cingular bought ATT, and then changed the name of the company from Cingular to ATT Inc

RE: T-Mobile
By ChristopherO on 1/12/2010 4:33:37 PM , Rating: 3
They have their own network. They do not share networks, except where they have roaming agreements. T-Mobile's 3G network is actually extremely fast in urban environments (it is the only provider with HSDPA 7.2), but their build-out is much less so in rural areas. They are, with the exception of certain geographical areas mostly an urban carrier.

People that slam them seem to fail to notice that they typically provide similar service for half the cost as everyone else. If you can't handle the trade-offs, then pay twice as much. It's your option, no one is forcing you.

I use an HTC Win Mo 3G device on the T-Mobile network and don't have any problems in 3G coverage areas. My guess is that HTC will end up releasing a revised radio ROM that fixes the quirks. They did the same thing for the TP2, the initial ROM (WM 6.1) had much less stable radio code.

Frankly, I have no idea why it needs to be refined that frequently. I would have thought Broadcom, or whomever made the 3G radio chips, would basically provide a stable reference ROM that wouldn't need to be tweaked all the time.

As for whomever's fault it happens to be... I'd say whoever did the radio ROM. It's not going to be T-Mobile, probably HTC. Unless one wants to assign blame to Google because they probably signed-off without adequate QA.

Welcome to high technology. Heck, look at iPhone 1.0. It's amazing how many features they had to add before it turned into the device it is today. As long as Google supports the Nexus, it will likely evolve into an even better product.

RE: T-Mobile
By PandaBear on 1/12/2010 5:22:15 PM , Rating: 2
Reference code is just that, reference. It is not 100% reliable or optimal for your design (antenna, network, amp, interference, etc).

RE: T-Mobile
By ChristopherO on 1/12/2010 6:41:19 PM , Rating: 2
True, but it shouldn't have lock-on problems etc... Especially that 3G has been pretty standard for quite awhile. And I'm willing to guess the radio in the nexus is actually identical to my TP2.

You'll see that HTC will release literally a couple dozen radio rom versions compatible with each model of their phones. This actually leads me to suspect they come from the ASIC manufacturer, and they release their silicon far before the software is fully ready to utilize it.

RE: T-Mobile
By bigbrent88 on 1/13/2010 2:36:19 PM , Rating: 2
T-mobile service is getting better and for the price it can't be beat, unless you live on a farm outside Omaha, sorry. I just went on a ski trip to Winter Park, CO and on the peak they had towers setup and I had full signal 3G coverage, ran Layar app to show me what the peaks were through my camera. ATT users? Barely got a signal. While going through the mountains on the way back I was able to rebook a flight without trouble, and throw out a few twitters. So yes, signal varies with location, but it's not always weaker.

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