What’s the point of “2G” data on 3?

One of the infuriating features of my Three iPhone 4S is the device’s total inability to transmit data on anything else than a 3G connection.

As my morning commute progresses I routinely see my 3G connection drop down. That’s not a problem. It happens on all the networks I use. However with Three, it seems binary. One or the other. You either get 3G or you get nothing.

Unfortunately the device expects something to happen. The 3G badge disappears to be replaced with a hollow circle of irreverence.

The device keeps on trying to connect. On other networks you see your web pages load at a snail’s pace. Two line emails take an age to send. But the key point is that stuff still happens. Data is still being transmitted really slowly!

Gahhhh. I just have to stare at my phone and watch as my apps all hang as they can’t understand why nothing is happening. If I’m really desperate I will switch the phone into airplane mode for a few minutes until I’m in a better 3G area.

(Perhaps my fisher price iPhone isn’t helping this situation either.)

Oh the trials and tribulations of mobile in 2012.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

10 replies on “What’s the point of “2G” data on 3?”

3 told me that they started to disconnect from Orange’s 2G network in 2010. There are only a few Regions around the UK where they are still connected. I know here in South East Wales the disconnection has been made. But even when we had 2G fall back, data would just stop loading. [in my personal view Orange’s 2G Network is stupid, patchy & crap] I feel this issue was never delt with & I got the impression that roaming onto Orange was only intended for voice & messaging. But please do correct me if I’m wrong.

If you’re getting the circle then you are still roaming onto Orange’s 2G network, if Three had pulled the agreement in that area you just wouldn’t get any signal. Three use Orange’s BTS, BSC & SGSN which then hands over to a Three GGSN for those of you of a technical persuasion.

I think its just a sign of how bad Orange’s 2G Radio Network is these days, I haven’t used an Orange SIM for over a year now but I imagine its the same experience there. I don’t think they do any QoS for their own customers over the Three national roaming traffic.

I’ve had this same experience with the occasional spot of 2G on Three, I carry a Three SIM in my iPhone and an O2 one in my N9 and there has been occasions when I’ve opened Foursquare on my iPhone and tried to lookup nearby places, got bored of waiting, got the N9 out of the other pocket, opened 4sq, found the place, checked in and put the N9 away while the poor iPhone’s still trying to get a list of places over Orange’s woefully inadequate 2G radio network.

Three should just cut the deal with Orange completely and put that cash into improving their already excellent 3G network IMO.

In areas where Three do still have a 2G backup, it is texts & calls only – no data.
No external data, anyway – the data session still opens and you can get to ‘my 3’, but nothing else.

It could be due to the wireless stack on iPhone. My Nokia has no problem falling back to 2G data on three. But heh you can use the ifart app!

I found out today that the reason 3 signal is so awful and I had much much better indoor coverage with O2 is they don’t allow 2G anymore when 3G isn’t strong enough. A scam if you ask me :/

There are some places that are 0 signal that other networks would have plenty.

I haven’t seen GPRS or EDGE once since being on 3 either.

Very starnge folk at 3. Called into their shop in Meadowhell, Sheff. Ask if there was a problem with 3s network ( hoping that there was and that it would be fixed soon) NO said the chap, we are all good. I then asked why I constantly get a bad 3g signal / or none at all.
Where do you live said the chap… I said ” Its not where I live that matters.. its where I want to use the phone”.. Where do you want to use the phone? he said.. Matlock Bath…or North Devon.. Terrible signal in Matlock ..he says. not sure about Woolacombe..He then went on to examine my phone..he could get into it..GT I9000 straight forward.. you havent got your DATA switched on..I don’t need DATA for a phone do with 3 as there isn’t any 2G.
Great says I.. After nearly 6 years I find that 3 only run half a service, with total disregard for their customers. Go into the shop next door O2..whats your coverage says I..He shows me on a screen ( it includes 2G).. I shalln’t be staying with 3)
This site is very good…and interesting…sorry about the RANT.

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