Unhappy with iPhone 3G Service? AT&T Says Break Your Contract

Would you pay your full cable bill if there was static on the screen all month? Buy a dozen eggs if three of them were broken? How about paying $30 a month for the same service that others get for $20 a month?

This is exactly what I pay for a service I can't use. I love the iPhone 3G, but I can only use the EDGE network. I leave the phone set to EDGE because it works. The moment I switch over to 3G, data latency times shoot through the roof, voice quality decreases noticably, and calls drop every five minutes.

iphone 3G network dead

Apple and AT&T both deserve kudos for pioneering such an outstanding new product. I am willing to be patient with their growing pains. The network is going to be a perpetual work in progress. But it's not right to force me to pay for something that doesn't work. See, if I had an original iPhone, my data plan would be $20 a month and limited to EDGE. As it is, I have an iPhone 3G with a $30 data plan limited to EDGE.

I continue to try and use 3G at least twice a week to check up on the network but there has been no improvement. Various customer service representatives at AT&T have listened to my story. Of course I've updated to 2.0.2. Yes, I've rebooted my phone. A million times. No, not just using the sleep button. Yes, I've held down the home button and sleep button to reset. Nothing works. Nothing works except for EDGE.

And EDGE works great. I'm so satisfied with the iPhone 3G on the EDGE network that I probably need to get my head examined. So I continue to call AT&T and voice my concerns. Sorry, you own the iPhone 3G hardware and that's the data plan charge, $30 a month. That's just how much it is. I'm sorry, I can't give you a refund. No, you can't switch to the $20 EDGE data plan.

Of course! I must be in an area with limited 3G coverage. Except that I live and work right in the middle of one of the most solidly covered areas on the entire map. Not the problem.

On another call, the customer service rep politely suggested that I could break my contract, (paying a $175 fee to AT&T) locate and purchase an original iPhone (2G), and then sign up for the $20 iPhone EDGE data plan! Thanks, but this doesn't bring me closer to my goal.

Why am I paying a monthly surcharge for nothing? A refund of $10 for the months 3G isn't working is a small price for AT&T to pay to improve customer satisfaction.

To their credit, another representative offered me a $5 refund to cover the day (Sept. 3, 2008) when EDGE went down across a wide swath of the country. I thanked her. It's the principle. Something I paid for didn't work for a while. Even Comcast cable prorates refunds for service that's down. They allegedly have some of the lowest customer service ratings in the corporate world.

I've even received apologies, telling me that AT&T is not intentionally ruining my 3G experience. It's just the way it is. In a month or so everything will be fixed after things sort themselves out and they have more time to work on the 3G towers. So when I turn on the tap and the water trickles, it's just the way it is. Pay your water bill and take showers from a bucket for a while.

I don't mind using EDGE for a while, but... I want my ten dollars!


The iPhone is just like other smartphones that are sold by AT&T. All the smartphones AT&T sells are subsidized and have data plans that cost $30 data. You are paying the same price as everyone else that bought a smartphone from AT&T, owning an iPhone makes you no more special.

It is a fallacy to think that $10 is a surcharge for 3G and $20 is the cost of a data plan for non 3G smartphones. You couldn't be more mistaken. All smartphone plans from AT&T cost $30 3G or not, period.

Yeah, except for the original iPhone. That data plan is $20. Guess those owners are special.

Yes. I own both the iPhone and iPhone 3G. I understand how the pricing works. The first iPhone got special pricing because Apple signed a deal with AT&T to keep the data plans low. Apple told AT&T " I'll keep the money from the phone sales and you give me X percent of the service money, Since you want exclusivity. I want you to keep the data plans $20 instead of $30 like you usually do."

With the 3G Apple just said to AT&T "How about you buy the phone from me for full cost, We'll sell it subsidized, you get to keep all the service related money". So the once special plan iPhone was not so special anymore and became just another smartphone for AT&T.

And also the original iphone you cant have a discount but the 3g you can

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You all are stupid you go to ebay get an Iphone 3gs.
Then you get a $45-50 plan with 450-600mins or w/e.
If you want edge pay $20 dollars, if your are going to get the
full 3g then tack that on $30 bucks a month but might as well get the plan w/ $200 phone.

If you are on a budget, I would recommend 45-50 plan mins + text and just use WiFi for appz and web.
If you are on the road you can pay per use data in emergencies.


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A couple tips may help. First let your iPhone be found. Turn Off 3G and get a WiFi signal. Go to Maps a have it locate your position. Then turn off WiFi. Turn on 3G. Back to Maps. 3G and Built in GPS should now show your position accurately. Go to settings. Turn on Airplane Mode. Close bck to Home Scren. Open Settings....Turn Off Airplane Mode. Back to Home. Back to settings. Select General. scroll down to Reset. Select Reset Network Settings. Close...Back home. Turn off iPhone. Turn back on. Slide to open and first open Safari page. After open close..back to home page. Things should work better. Extras? Turn off Autobrightness. Known to cause Application crashes. For faster Safari Surfing... Turn off JavaScript.

Hope this helps Chris.


Your tips worked!. Acutally it connected to 3G once i turned off WiFi and went back to maps, but i followed all steps to reset settings...

So having GPS locate you on wifi can somehow reconnect to 3G? Odd but it worked...


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Are these 3G problems only on iphones? Or all ATT

I'm a new iPhone 3G owner and after the network outage, I have had at least 350k/s around the DC / Baltimore metro area. No problems with dropped calls either. I think they've fixed whatever problem they were having. YMMV.

I purchased the original iPhone on day 1. Purchased the 3G on day 1. Not once did I ever have any problems with my original phone. New phone, all of the above. Went to AT&T, complained about the dropped calls. They blamed Apple. Called Apple, turned off 3G and LOOK, FULL 5 BARS. Turned it back on, 1 bar. Back to the AT&T blame. Told Apple about the screen problem, the proximity scensor not working correctly. This has been documented also. After they heard this I was shipped a new phone the next day. The low signal strength issue did not improve.

Now the new 2.2 upgrade. I at first noticed that the 3G sign is not enclosed in blue as before and what else, full 5 bars in areas that I did not have that in the past. It has not been long enough to see if the dropped call issue has been taken care of but as others have said, lets wait and see if the growing pains have cleared.

Just wanted to say that I had a 3G iPhone that would not "do 3G" - only Edge. I literally only even SAW the 3G icon (usually with 1 bar) a few times. I turned off 3G, disgusted, and ran Edge. But I would turn on 3G from time to time to SEE if it was improving (it wasn't). But one day I had it on and then later that day...

...I had a date with a woman who also had a 3G iPhone. And she tried to call me from the bar (I was 5 minutes late) and I answered the call but didn't hear anything and then after 10 seconds of "hello, hello...can you hear me?" it disconnected! I noticed I was on 3G and again I was pissed. But when I got to the restaurant and bar a minute later , I explained to my date that 3G service is so horrible. She pulled out her iPhone and lo and behold, sitting right next to mine, she had 4 bars while I had 3G. Checked the firmware version (she's a geek too!) and the settings and we had the same software level on everything. Later, I took a took a picture of both phones next to each other and the signal strength.

I made an appointment with Apple the next day and took in my photos and explained that 3G was not just "bad" for me but almost nonexistant even in places where OTHER iPhone 3G users were having no problems. They gave me a replacement phone. This replacement phone works tons better and I now enjoy good 3G at least 75% of the time (it's still not perfect though).

Point being: It is possible that some people, like me, actually have partially defective hardware! So don't be shy about exploring the possibility of an exchange during your warranty period.

I agree with you here except for one small detail. The extra $10 per month is not for 3g per se, it is more to cover the hardware discount you get when you buy a 3g for only $200. The original iPhone was $600 when launched but later dropped to 500 if I recall. At $10 extra per month for 24 months you are still only paying $440 in total for the phone, a spectacularly low price for what it is.

Now quit being a whiny baby. AT&T never promised 3g would work everywhere.

I have the same problem with my I phone. The 3G network is terrible and never works at my office or hardly at my house (which is in the middle of the city!). I spent 2 hours on the phone with AT&T trying to cancel the data plan because I do not pay for things that don't work!! After getting the runaround and basically having representatives lie to me for 2 hours straight, I decided to cancel my contract and drop AT&T completely. It is pretty ridiculous that they would rather loose $100.00 per month than just cancel my data plan and let me use the phone without the internet. This experience made me so frustrated that I don't ever plan on going back to AT&T, even though I have been a loyal customer for about 8 years. I was not aware that you had to have a data plan to use the I Phone and the whole thing is completely absurd.