iPhone 3G reception 'normal,' say Swedish engineers

iPhone reception tested against Nokia, Ericsson models to quell users claims of poor signal strength.

Apple's iPhone 3G offers "normal" reception, Swedish engineers who tested the smart phone said today, adding to the controversy over recent user reports of dropped calls and slow surfing speeds.

According to the Goeteborgs-Posten, Sweden's second-largest daily newspaper, tests done at Bluetest, a testing chamber manufacturer, showed that the iPhone 3G's transmission and receiving results were "completely normal."

Bluetest compared the iPhone 3G's numbers with those obtained from tests on a Sony Ericsson P1 and a Nokia N73. The bottom line]]: The Sony Ericsson proved slightly better at receiving signals and the N73 edged the iPhone at transmitting signals.

But Bluetest considered even the largest difference, 2 dBm between the iPhone and the Nokia in transmission power, as minor. "It is not much," the newspaper quoted Mats Andersson, Bluetest's CEO, as saying. "At a difference of 4-6 dBm one might start to wonder if there is anything wrong."

Andersson's engineers tested the iPhone 3G with wireless, GPS and Bluetooth disabled as well as enabled to eliminate the chance that other signals might be interfering with the phone's cellular connection. Bluetest reported no difference between the disabled and enabled tests.

Andersson did not reply to an e-mail asking for additional comment and information on the tests.

Owners of Apple's newest phone have complained of poor reception almost since it debuted July 11. The complaints, which center around frequent dropped calls, slow data downloads and poor signal strength, even when in areas supposedly covered by a 3G network, have prompted several thousand messages to Apple's support forum, as well as a lawsuit filed last week by an Alabama woman.

Although Apple issued an iPhone software update last week that it said included 3G communication improvements, users disagreed, maintaining on the support forum that the fix had not changed their phone's performance.

Also last week, Birmingham, Ala. resident Jessica Smith filed a lawsuit in federal court charging Apple with breach of warranty. Smith also asked that her suit be granted class-action status so that other iPhone 3G owners could join her in demanding that Apple replace or repair the phone, which she claimed was defective.

Most users have blamed Apple for the problems, saying that other 3G phones they own have no trouble keeping connected to a particular carrier's network. Some users in Europe, where 3G has been in place much longer than in the US, have also reported difficulty making calls with their iPhones.

But Bluetest's results, if valid, could shift attention from Apple to mobile operators. AT&T, for example, is still in the process of upgrading its 3G network in the US, where it's promised to add another 50 metropolitan areas to its coverage by the end of the year, and to double existing 3G capacity in nearly half its cell sites nationally.

Ironically, two weeks ago, another Swedish publication, the engineering weekly Ny Teknik claimed it had data from unnamed mobile experts that said Apple's phone suffered from substandard signal sensitivity because of a problem somewhere between the phone's antenna and its signal amplifier.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Appleiphone 3g

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2018

Secure and Save before time runs out with Bitdefender Exclusive Clearance Offer! Get Bitdefender Total Security 2018 Now!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?