Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pathetic 3G performance of iPhone 4S on SoftBank

My iPhone 4S's 3G browsing performance is very slow and this has been the case with my previous iPhone 3GS as well. I don't know who actually is the culprit; whether it is Softbank's crappy 3G network or Apple's crappy (i.e. form over function) antenna/software design. It is possible that the crappiness of both parties get together to make it as bad as it is.
This is what I get with Speedtest on my 4S. It doesn't even break 1Mbps. (I cannot test it on my wife's phone because it doesn't have unlimited internet.)
Looks pathetic, doesn't it? So much for "almost 4G" like 3G performance. Apple's BS marketing yet again fools the community. 
If you actually make calls on the iPhone, you will be amazed how often the calls get dropped. I don't remember such thing with any of the phones back in Sri Lanka. I didn't understand what everyone was babbling about when they were saying their calls get dropped. It started with the 3GS, and I made like 20 calls in the entire 1.5 years I had it with me. Now on the iPhone 4S, even though they say they have improved the antenna design, I still see the same dropped calls. Now it is more, because I make at least a couple of calls every day.You cannot point at Apple, but people out there say that after moving from an iPhone to an Android or a Windows Phone handset, they haven't experienced a single dropped call.
Another thing that is weird about the signal level indicator is, when I am browsing the internet, suddenly the signal level would drop to zero bars, and then it would rise up to 4 or 5 bars. It looks as if something went wrong while maintaining the connection to the base-station and it had to reset. I have never seen something like that on any other phone. 
I should look at somewhere else when I go hunting for a new phone.


  1. The signal bars may be because you're being handed off to an adjacent cell. The iPhone reports back bad reception, and the BSC tells it to lock into another BTS. But actually, this second cell is too far away. So the BSC decides to switch back to the cell you were. And at that time, the iPhone's reception has corrected itself somehow and stays there.

    Why don't you buy a cheap glue tube, cover the antennagate with it for some days and try without a casing.?

  2. It is logical to think that the sudden signal loss is due to base station switching.
    But when it comes to iPhone, logics hardly apply. :D

    What I don't understand is, why does it do that when the phone is sitting still? There
    is no reason to check for a base station with better signal strength when you have 5 bars full in the first place.

    There is an option under Location Services > System Services called Cell Network Search ( and maybe it is the culprit. I will turn if off and see how things go.

    I am not using a hard casing on the phone. It is something like a rubberer, semi-transparent, silicone case. Very thin as well. I don't think it has anything to do with this. Call drops were common in the 3GS era as well, and it didn't have the 4/4S like antenna gate issue. It must be in their core antenna design + software.

  3. So Sameera says it was same on his Galaxy Nexus with the same SoftBank connection. So I guess, for the time being, Apple survives my wrath. Death to SoftBank. Wish I could switch the KDDI. Too bad everybody is using SoftBank and calls within the network are free.

  4. You mean SB to SB is free regardless of who uses what package? how the heck do you suppose they maintain a better network? They lose revenue as you talk! lol.

  5. there are fixed charges. why am i paying JPY5700 per month without taking a single call? besides, SB to SB is only free in the off-peak hours, which is ironically from 2am to 9pm. peek hours start at night. only calls within the family package (i.e. me and Ama) are free 24/7.


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