Apple Hit With 3G iPhone Lawsuit

Dropped Calls, Cell Phone Service

Ambar Kulkarni, a 33-year-old software developer in Alpharetta, Ga., and his wife have experienced problems with their matching 3G iPhones. His biggest complaint? Dropped calls.

"My calls get dropped a lot, and I'm not even moving one inch, anywhere," he said. "I move my chair a little bit, and my call gets dropped. It's just weird."

Kulkarni says he did not experience the same problems with the first generation of the iPhone. He mentioned, however, that the Web download times seemed to be faster.

"I'm not so sure what it could be," he said. "I used to be on T-Mobile before the iPhone bandwagon. I thought T-Mobile was bad, but not like this."

iPhone Problems

Across the country in San Bruno, Calif., Brian Lew, a 30-year-old self-described "power user," said he experienced problems with the smart phone when it would switch from AT&T's 3G network to its slower Edge network.

"The 3G goes in and out. It will drop to Edge, then it will drop the call," he said. "If you're walking or driving, it will drop the call. I'll have full bars and full 3G, but it will drop the call after one ring. … I'm eager to see how 3G works [overseas]. I think that will be a pretty good test — the network or the phone?"

Who's to Blame?

Currently, it's unclear whether the reported problems lie with AT&T's network or Apple's handset.

AT&T has received few complaints, according to company spokesman Mark Siegel.

"Overall, the iPhone 3G is working great on our 3G network. Customer response has been tremendous. We couldn't be more thrilled with the results," Siegel said. "The problems you're hearing about are minor. We're not getting a lot of complaints about them. What we always urge people to do is sync their iPhone to iTunes. That way, they're always assured of getting the latest software updates."

The problems aren't affecting every iPhone user. Several customers sent e-mails to to discuss their devotion to their phone and the positive experiences they've had with it.

"Mine works great with no problems," wrote Tim Staley of Fort Pierce, Fla. "I wonder what all the fuss is about."

Mike Emery in Fort Worth, Texas, wrote: "Purchased my iPhone first weekend! Have had zero problems. Best phone I have ever owned."

'Comes Down to Where You Are'

Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg characterized the problem as a minor one.

"Any product is going to exhibit a certain amount of problems. Well, I have reception problems with a variety of [carriers]. Reception in terms of cell phone really comes down to where you are," he said. "I'm not seeing anything that indicates that this [is] widespread. … If the Internet tends to magnify smaller problems, then the fact that it's an Apple product tends to magnify it even more."

On Thursday, Business Week cited anonymous sources as saying that the problem was with the iPhone, specifically a 3G chip manufactured by Infineon.

Infineon spokesman Mitch Ahiers declined to comment to about the iPhone. "However, when it comes to Infineon's 3G chips, Infineon is not aware of any problems. Our 3G chips, for example, are used in Samsung handsets, and we are not aware of such problems there," he wrote in an e-mail.

iPhone 3G Recall?

If there is a problem with a chip, an iPhone recall could be possible, according to Rob Enderle, an independent Silicon Valley analyst.

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