At the beginning of this month, we gave you the heads up that the iPhone 4S would be launching in a further 13 countries, including: Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Malta, Montenegro, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Romania and South Korea.
Now, however, we can reveal that this roll-out hasn’t gone exactly as Apple had originally planned it would.
Detailed in a variety of threads over on Apple Discussions, many users who are purchasing Apple’s iPhone 4S in these countries, (and indeed a number of other countries), are now reporting that they are experiencing the smartphone lose signal completely, (drop to no bars), just a few hours after it’s out of the box.
These reports are nothing to do with holding the device is a certain way, (like “antennagate”). Instead, the new issue is reported as happening quite “randomly,” with some users highlighting that they can have full signal one minute and just seconds later the smartphone simply drops the signal entirely, despite being in the same or similar location as to when they had signal before.
Stuart, who started one of the largest threads on the topic, wrote:
I’ve been using an iPhone 4 on a Vodafone contract for the past 16 months and just bought an iPhone 4S direct from Apple. It arrived on Friday morning and I got it set up correctly as far as I can tell.
When I first turn it on, it works lovely and exactly as I would expect, able to make calls, send texts and access the internet via the cellular network. However, at what appears to be random, the network will disappear (no bars of signal) stopping me making calls and texts, but still allowing me to access the internet. Sometimes, the internet goes, but I can still make calls and texts. Other times, everything is gone and I get “No Signal” where it normally says Vodafone UK.
So when trying to fix this problem after it’s noticed, I try putting it into Airplane mode and back out. The phone scans for a network and goes back to the same state as before I tried this fix. I have tried resetting network settings, but this doesn’t change anything. The only thing that actually fixes it temporarily is turning the phone right off and back on again.
Earlier on in the thread it was thought the issue could be software-related, user therealikt writes:
It’s not a hardware issue, it’s software. For some reason, iOS is cycling the radio on and off, I’m guessing something mixed up with SIM pin permissions. What I had to do was turn on SIM pin, then off, at which point it demanded the PUK code. I was able to get it online through my ATT account. After I entered that PUK, then went back into settings and turned SIM pin off, I haven’t had any problems.
For most, it seems turning SIM PIN “OFF” under Settings > Phone > SIM PIN > “OFF” is a reasonable – albeit slightly inconvenient – solution to the issues being experienced. Others, however, claim this method simply doesn’t work for them, and even with Apple’s latest software update (iOS 5.0.1) applied, the problem continues.
iPhone BD, writes:
Hi I am from Bangladesh.. i am having the same problem after I updated to iOS 5.0.1.. Cant send any txt and call… its ******** me off.. cant even contact apple properly.. they have all the weird rules.
Some, however, blame iOS 5.0.1 for causing the issue. IRock_, writes:
I think I have cracked it. I have read every post and comments and tried and every possible fix. Does not work. I’m using iPhone 4S 16gig bought from Melbourne, use in Cambodia carrier Mobitel.
Issue, no signal. 3G come and go. I have to on and off to get back signal sometime aeroplane mode on and off. My iPhone is useless. It was fine on 5.0 problem only exist after I update to 5.0.1.
I tried my GF sim card and everything works fine, signal is full. I switch back to old sim problem come back. Today I went to the carrier and get me a new sim (does not matter 32k or 128k, they only have 32k btw, same sim I used before) And now, its fine. Its been 3 hours now. Normal I have no signal every 15-20 min I have restart and attempt to call someone to get back signal. I think when 5.0.1 was installed, something in the OS messed up the sim card. However that sim card still works fine on iPhone 4/3GS and other phone.
I know some people have tried this and still have that issue. I know your frustration. If issue still persist, keep trying different sim cards. You will see the different. I hope it works for you. Now for me I am inclined to not update software without prior research on forums.
iPhone 4S from Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
It is so far unclear what is causing these issues, nor is it clear if these issues originate from a hardware issue pertaining to the iPhone 4S’s SIM region, or if the issue is simply software-related. Either way, Apple is yet to comment on the growing number of people seemingly affected by these signal issues.
Are you experiencing signal drop on your iPhone 4S? … Is your 4S randomly “Searching…” for a carrier? — Let us know in the comments below. With one of the Apple Support threads we featured 22-pages long, it is clear this issue spans a large part of the world already.
Exactly how widespread these issues are is yet to be determined, although, according to TUAW reader, Dušan, European carriers “cannot handle [the] amount of complaints.”