iPhone Won’t Connect to 3G Data Network

by Michael on March 20, 2011 · 0 comments

Either I’m cursed, or Apple quality control has gone way downhill. Last week I got a replacement for my iPhone with a dark spot on the screen. Sadly, the new one had a defective touchscreen that caused problems when typing. And now this…

Earlier today, I made the 40+ mile trek to the Apple Store. Again. The guy at the Genius Bar graciously swapped out my because of the touchscreen problems, and I went happily on my way. At least for awhile.

Later in the day, I noticed that my iPhone wouldn’t connect to the 3G network. Instead, I got the dreaded “E” alongside my five bar connection indicating that it’s connected to the EDGE network. It transmits data just fine, but it does so slowly.

I checked to be sure that 3G was enabled – it was. I tried re-booting the handset. I tried resetting the network settings. I tried resetting all of the settings. I even tried restoring the phone and updating from iOS 4.2.1 to iOS 4.3 – despite the fact that I was giving up the possibility of jailbreaking my phone anytime soon.

And guess what? None of these things worked. I’ve also ruled out both an app conflict and corrupted data, as the problem occurs even before I sync anything onto the phone after doing the restore.

And before you start blaming the AT&T signal… I’ve tested my phone all over town, and it won’t pick up a 3G signal anywhere, even though I’ve previously latched onto a 3G signal in all of these places. And yes, other people have been able to get a 3G signal in these places even though I can’t.

What now? This sure smells like yet another hardware problem, though I wonder if the SIM card could somehow be at fault? Seems unlikely since it was working fine just hours before in a different handset. If this phone turns out to be defective, that would be my third one.

So how do I deal with this? My best guess is that AT&T will blame Apple, and Apple will blame AT&T. Lovely. Honestly, I’m starting to wish that I had just sucked it up and dealt with the dark spot on my original iPhone’s screen.

Update: I called Apple after verifying it was a problem with the phone itself, and not the network. They FedEx’d a new phone, and I was back in business the next morning.

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