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Thursday, January 14, 2010

How bad is your Apple iPhone 3GS phone signal? (Tech News, Report, Auckland)

Do you have trouble getting the most of out of that expensive smartphone because your operator's 3G network just isn't up to scratch? If so, Radio 4's Today programme would like to know about your problems.

Many iPhone users have been complaining for months that they're not getting the service they expect because O2's network is overloaded. I called last year to complain about the patchy coverage in my area of west London where the 3G symbol often just disappears from my phone - and was told there was a problem with a dead patch where the network had not been able to install a new mast.

Just after Christmas, Ronan Dunne, O2's chief executive, admitted that he was very disappointed in the network's performance in London and blamed it on the explosion in data use by all those proud smartphone owners, who'd acquired iPhone apps and were determined to use them. But he insisted that the problem was restricted to the capital and was being eased by major investment in the network.

So what's your experience of this and other 3G networks? Is O2 any worse than Orange or Vodafone which now both have the iPhone as well as a range of other data-hungry phones? And is it true that the problem is restricted to the capital - or are there other problem areas, where 3G coverage is supposed to be there but often fades away.

On Friday, Mr Dunne will be appearing on the Today programme, and by then we'd like to have a better idea of the state of the 3G networks in the UK. My impression is that they're facing huge strains as millions of people discover that modern phones are mini-computers which can do all sorts of clever things online - if the networks are up to it.
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