Who is to Blame for Internet Troubles on G1?

After the recent update to RC30 earlier this month, many people have noticed problems accessing the internet.  I personally have had a run of issues trying to pull up anything web-based.  Thankfully, I spend enough time around WiFi that I haven’t pulled my hair out…yet.

One of the big selling points of Android and the G1 is that I have all of these tools and search options at my fingertips.  Well, unless I am at home or in one of the few places I work with a hotspot, I can’t show off the features.  Maps don’t work, but more importantly, apps like ShopSavvy and WikiTap are rendered useless.  I’m about as big of an Android evangelist as you’ll find so you can imagine my frustrations when I am unable to demo things other phones can’t do.

I know I’m not alone in this.  In fact, the official T-Mobile forums have 7 pages of discussion dedicated to it so far.  I can’t recall where I read it, but apparently T-Mobile is blaming Google for their updates to Android.  I have to say that sounds wrong to me.  Various people have reported that they only experience these issues when outside of T-Mobile areas.  This feels like a data roaming problem or provisioning issue to me.

Some customers have said that T-Mobile reps are asking them to do master resets of their devices while others are filing help tickets.  One person even said T-Mobile told him to exercise his 14 day return option.  Let’s assume for a moment that T-Mobile knows for sure that Google has caused the issue.  Why aren’t their reps being educated?  Why hasn’t another patch come out?  We all know how quickly those are churned out.

While $35 for unlimited data and text is a good price, it’s a waste of money if it’s not usable.  Dropping the data features and just adding unlimited messaging sounds reasonable now, yes? T-Mobile has a great track record of issuing credits and pro-rating things, so we can expect that.  But how much longer are some of us going to be contained to WiFi?

Anybody out there have more to add?

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  1. I had this problem early on. The Edge network icon (no 3G yet, yargh) would disappear and I would have no data connectivity. When I called T-Mobile, they told me to power down the phone, pop out the battery and sim card and wait a few seconds before reassembling and rebooting. That seemed to fix the data connection problem. The representative, who was extremely helpful, said it forces the network to re-recognize the phone or something along those lines.

  2. i have had no problems. when im on the boarder of a 3g network things get sketchy, like the phone dosent know what to do. but other than that im fine. hell edge is pretty fast.

  3. I suppose I must be lucky. I have had absolutely zero issued with net connectivity. I am an extremely heavy data user. (I have to recharge my G1 twice a day). And I use nothing but the 3G/Edge connection. My Wi-Fi is always off. I can’t recall one time where my internet connection hasn’t worked since getting the phone on 10/20. I primarily use it between LA and Orange County in So Cal. Not sure if it’s simply my location or if the 3G/data gods have blessed my phone.

  4. Here are the problems I have been experiencing…

    My house is in a GPRS area…which sucks…but I have been pleasantly surprised that performance isn’t too bad. But every once in a while I will be sitting there using my phone and I will loose data service all together??? Usually I try rebooting my phone or messing with some settings (turn on/off airplane mode) and I can get it back.

    When I travel, sometimes it seems that it has a hard time picking up data service when I move from GPRS to EDGE (no 3G anywhere near where I live unfortunately).

    It get’s even worse when I travel to an area that has no T-Mobile service. Obviously data does not work while roaming at all, but, my phone always seems to have issues locking on to non-T-Mobile towers (ATT). I spent most of a recent trip across the state (PA) for work and had no service (voice or data)…until I started poking around in the settings and managed to have it pickup an ATT tower in roaming mode, so now when I am traveling and I don’t have service I have to mess with settings…it should be automatic.

  5. I’ve had various Internet connectivity problems on 3G. Sometimes I see the 3G icon but can’t get any Internet connectivity. Sometimes I’m in a known 3G area (an area in which 3G has previously worked well) and I see the EDGE or GPRS icon. To remedy this, sometimes I’ve powered the phone off and on, and sometimes I’ve set the “use only 2G networks” option in Settings.

    When the 3G is working I’ve found it to be pretty fast and usable.

    In any case, due to this and several other issues, I called T-Mobile customer care and they’re sending me a replacement phone.

  6. I have the same problem and it does seem to be only with the G1 browser. When I use Opera Mini I surf the web perfectly. This also happens either on edge, 3g or wi-fi.

  7. I am in RTP, NC when i turn my phone on I sometimes see that its roaming and then the R goes away. I don’t think thats the issue however.. atleast not for me. It seems that once my phone sort of goes to sleep once it wakes up I often lose my data connectivity. As a work around I put the phone in to airplane mode and then take airplane mode off. It looks for a tower and then i have connectivity again.

    I am thinking this problem may have been there all along. A lot of people seem to be reporting better battery life on the G1 now with RC30. Purely speculation but I am wondering if the so called continuous data synch was keeping the data connection alive. Once the update occurred and the continuous synch stopped it allows the phone’s data connectivity to time out. The problem is the phone is not requesting that its session is renewed… Atleast that’s what I am thinking is the problem and I have no experience with data provisioning on a cell phone.


  8. I have to say that here in the UK I have had none of these problems at all.

    The phone works as well as can be expected in 3G areas and goes back to 2.5G otherwise. It finds my work Wifi when I’m there with no issues at all.

    The only problems I have is that there is no proper Google Reader application for the phone … the browser based one is frankly rubbish (trash).

  9. I am glad I check the TMobile forums often and saw this problem that has been ongoing for 3 weeks now without a fix. I was planning to upgrade to the G1 next week but refuse to do sp until thios issue is resolved. It a shame because they are advertising the G1 on tv pretty heavily with commercials and with this problem they will get a lot of G1’s returned and T-Mobile getting a black eye. I am pissed off the the cell phone web sites that report stuff like this have said nothing so far. Seems they do not want to upset T-Mobile so they can keep getting their free tester phones and gadgets they get to text out. Fools.

  10. I am glad I check the TMobile forums often and saw this problem that has been ongoing for 3 weeks now without a fix. I was planning to upgrade to the G1 next week but refuse to do sp until thios issue is resolved. It a shame because they are advertising the G1 on tv pretty heavily with commercials and with this problem they will get a lot of G1’s returned and T-Mobile getting a black eye. I am pissed off the the cell phone web sites that report stuff like this have said nothing so far. Seems they do not want to upset T-Mobile so they can keep getting their free tester phones and gadgets they get to test out. Fools.

  11. Yet another very anglosaxon thing to say. Are you the androidguys or the t-mobileguys? How far should we let a “small operator” (at least that still seems to be your view) determine the faith/image of a new mobile platform? I detect a prejudice towards T-Mobile USA being a small operator, being hardly able to scrape together a 3G network, and offering a terrible customer service. A prejudice that has always been present in most of the blogs on the web, and a fact or a fiction that has very little to do with the Android platform itself. On the other hand most Germans will not stop telling you how great T-Mobile really is. Both sides are probably wrong. Still, if there really is a problem, you should take it up with T-Mobile, but not act as if this effects/interests the rest of the world.

    I think you should take some time to decide who you are writing for: USA(+UK) only or rather the international community? If you choose the second group then I think you should reduce the number of localized articles (meaning articles about T-Mobile specifics, Sprint, Vodaphone and what not). By the way, if the androidguys can’t discern the platform from the hardware from the network, then how do you expect regular Joe to be able to do so?

    Just my 2 eurocents.

  12. @PJV – Thank you for taking the time to visit, and more importantly share your view. Go ahead and look through the archives here. You’ll find we’ve been very fair to T-Mobile, almost too fair in some cases. We give Sprint a much harder time here actually. Being that both are in the Open Handset Alliance, we’re going to cover them in whichever way we see fit. I’ve had T-Mobile for over 5 years now and have no plans of leaving them. They’re the best carrier for me when it comes to hardware and rates.

    We know the difference between the platform, hardware, etc. and that should be obvious. You’ll notice that this article is filed under Op-Eds and not News. It’s my personal take on a situation and not the collective AndroidGuys stance.

    – Scott

  13. Hi,

    i am from Germany, Munich, and i would never tell anybody that t-mobile is a great isp or mobile net service broadcaster and so on.. in germany its a good alternative to have a good signal with your phone everywhere here but i do not think the service or support is well by t-mobile.. even i do not think its an good alternative in the USA.. but its the only provider with G1 if i remember right.

    I am the opinion that it is t-mobile faults that causes those internet trouble in some areas.

    have a nice sunday


  14. So I work for Google and had a heck of a time getting a G1 on the plan they promised to Google employees. It took almost 3 hours on the phone with T-Mobile in order to finally get what I wanted… the G1 on a 1 year contract.

    Well, I finally got my G1 about 1.5 weeks ago. It worked fine for a week, or until I ported my Verizon phone number into T-Mobile. I don’t know if it was the phone number port or possibly the firmware push (it was on Nov 28th) that my data connection to T-Mobile stopped working on the 28th and hasn’t worked since.

    Dreading a call to T-Mobile, I looked online and found instructions on how to hard reset the phone.

    Upon a hard reset, I was still unable to access data, and now registering my G1 is impossible. I called T-Mobile custome care and they suggested that they could reset my data plan but it would take 2 to 24 hours to hit the phone. I agreed, and nothing. So, this morning (24 hours later) I called them back and spent another 45 minutes on the phone with technical support. They said that I was probably subject to provisioning problems and that their techs were working on it. She couldn’t give me any estimated time that my phone might work again. She hinted that it would be days if not weeks. She said this was affecting all new data plan subscribers for Blackberries, PDA’s, and the G1. Instead, she suggested I take my SIM out and put it in another T-Mobile phone since the G1 was rendered useless.

    I’ve never had so many problems with a carrier. Verizon (though their phones are _completely_ cripped) always works through their problems with me in a timely manner. Their customer service comes through on their published promises, and their tech support staff actually have consistent answers for the problems I face. Not so with Tmo.

    T-Mobile is by far the worst customer experience I’ve ever had in my life. I can’t stress strongly enough that if anyone is considering getting a G1 on T-Mobile… Don’t.

    After a 5 hour time investment calling T-Mobile, I dont want to send my G1 back, but even I have limits…

    I don’t know if this is bad firmware, bad luck, or what. I can tell you the one thing that doesn’t help… calling customer care at T-Mobile.

  15. My biggest issue with My G1 right now has to be the 3G coverage whether its a T-Mobile issue or Google update issue I don’t know. Since Day 1 10/29/08 I barely receive 3g at my home and its even worse at my Job, (inside the building only that is) Pretty much unless i’m in the heart of downtown Atlanta or Buckhead area (which unfortunately is rare), 3G sucks. The worse part about it is that when I am connected to 3G and i move into a what is supposed to be 3G area but really isn’t and my connection drops to EDGE the transition isn’t as seamless as it should be whereas i get dropped calls if i’m on the phone or just a loss of connectivity where the page I was loading, or the music I was streaming just stops and the phone looks at me and I look back and My signal indicator shows 4 bars and there is no 3G or EDGE symbol and it takes a good 5 to 10 mins to reestablish a connection, if at all. My Fiancé has absolutely no coverage at her job and it takes a good 10 to 20 mins to establish a basic connection to GSM when she leaves that area. Could be a firmware issue but honestly when I run EDGE all day I don’t have these problems. My poor Fiancé is just out in the cold unfortunately…… Either way I hope they do something about this because as you say $35 bucks for data, $70 in my case ain’t cheap when you cant use it 95% of where you spend your time. I mean I love T-Mobile and the G1 but seriously, common guys……..

  16. Wow. Maybe I’m just lucky, but I have not experienced any of the G1 issues I’m reading here. In fact, I’ve been with T-Mobile since back when they were Powertel, then VoiceStream. Never had a major issue with them on anything. Ever. Their customer service has never been anything other than quick and helpful. never had an issue that wasn’t resolved in a matter of minutes.

    Now, I’m not parked in one location. I work in the Washington DC area, and my home is in northeast Florida, just south of Jacksonville. I’ve had my G1 a little over two weeks now and the longest thing I had to wait for was the switch between my old Blackberry data plan and the G1 internet plan. That took about 20 minutes, maybe thirty.

    We have 3G service in DC, and the quality of the service is extremely good. I get a solid signal, snappy performance, no dropped calls or data. Early on, when i was grabbing a bunch of Market apps, I had a couple of stalled downloads, but I just canceled them and restarted and they worked. This happened more frequently down in the Jacksonville area on the Edge network.

    The Edge service is also pretty good for me. I live in a suburb of Jacksonville and the signal is really great. There are some areas there where service sucks, but it’s *always* sucked, so I attribute that to tower coverage.

    Traveling, things are also pretty good. I was driving back to DC Sunday, and my coverage dropped to GSM in parts of central Georgia, but everything worked fine most of the way. I used the GPS and Google Maps during the ride and it followed me right up I-95.

    I should also mention that we have a family plan with my G1, my wife’s old Nokia (she’s low-tech) and my daughter’s Shadow. Two data plans, one unlimited text plan (we kept that and I get data for $25/month on the G1, the Shadow is $20/month), etc. etc. Our biggest issue is the occasional reception issues on my wife’s old Nokia, which means it’s time for a new phone for her.

    My biggest gripe with the G1 right now is the quality of some of the apps. I use the music player a lot, and I find it woefully inadequate…lack of controls, refusal to allow me to play FOLDER content on the micro card, no equalizer. But, I’ve been in the tech business for a long time, so I understand you have to live with this stuff for a while on early adoption. I’d also like to see a little more access to the system internals (without hacked firmware for now), since hacking the system was the main reason I bought the phone.

    Oh, and I also hated my Blackberry’s marriage to all things Microsoft.

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