Users Report 3G Reception Issues, Analyst Says Blame The Chipset

Some iPhone 3G owners have been reporting unusually poor reception on their new devices. A thread on Apple’s Discussion boards has been steadily gathering new posts of people citing unusually poor reception in circumstances that normally don’t cause it. Specifically, users are reporting unusually frequent dropped calls on AT&T’s network in the US.

One user wrote:

“I was driving down Folsom Street in San Francisco, and I got a dropped call 10 times. I get dropped calls just standing in one place,” said Yarbrough, a 34-year-old accountant. “I’m extremely annoyed, but I’m hopeful a software update will fix it.”

AT&T spokesman Mark Seigel says that they are currently looking into specific cases on an individual basis, but that they are not noticing an unusual number of dropped calls on the iPhone 3G specifically, and that overall the device is doing just fine.

“How a device performs in individual situations depends on circumstances like where you are in the 3G coverage, how close you are to a cell site. Things like terrain and buildings all come into play,” Siegel said. “I’m not denying that people are having a less than satisfactory experience, but overall, the phone is doing great.”

It should be noted that while these complaints do stand out to us as we see them on the Apple Discussion boards, it may not necessarily be an indication of a widespread problem, as judging the scope of the situation from a list of complaints is difficult.

One analyst suggests that, assuming the issue is widespread, the problem may be linked to the Infineon 3G chipset that Apple put in the iPhone 3G. Richard Windsor, an analyst with Nomura Securities, released a research note today in which he said “We believe that these issues are typical of an immature chipset and radio protocol stack where we are almost certain Infineon is the 3G supplier.” Still, no hard evidence that the problem is linked to hardware has been found.

[via CNET, Gigaom]

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