Nexus One 3G Woes, Part 315

This problem just won’t go away.  Even after the latest OTA update, the Nexus One is still having 3G problems.  As you will see in the video above, 3G connectivity changes dramatically just by how the phone is being held.  Now, if you ask me, this certainly doesn’t sound like a T-Mobile 3G problem.  Also, I’m not one to point fingers at a certain Chrome and Buzz-ing company, especially since they have so much power in this world.  With that being said, this seems like a hardware problem that really needs to be addressed and fast.  Otherwise, I propose a riot (holding pitchforks and phones, with a certain lighter app, in the air).  Are you still having 3G problems on the Nexus One?  If so, feel free the vent in the comments.


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  • Doug Boehme

    I haven’t had a chance to look at the video but in opening the back of the N1, it looks like the actual phone antenna is just to the left of the camera when looking at the back. If that is truly the antenna, perhaps not holding it in that spot is the key?

  • ali

    Its HTC’s fault. Google contributed the OS only. By the HTC, when you fix these issue on the next generation of phones, please include a real camera [ like one with xenon flash]. I have yet to see a HTC phone that has as good a camera as say SE k850i or Nokia n82.

  • chris p

    I gotta say, yeah it looks like its dropping signals when you cradle ur phone on ur palm… But then i gotta ask? who holds their phone like that? do you show your phone off covering the back? or do you text with ur hands all over the bottom part or back of the phone? i gotta see a test where someone holds the phone normally and with that i mean, like PSP-ish kinda hold of it, where its the phone is resting on ur fingers and not on your palm… I don’t have a nexus one, but my friend that does have a nexus one, hasn’t complained to me about 3g issues people are having… he said his 3g signals are fine.

  • rob

    I’m curious to see how the Nexus One will fair on the Verizon network.

    • watbetch

      It will probably use another radio, it will have changes to say the least. It really shouldn’t matter.

  • Ray

    I know what he means about the ant but that’s every phone. usually i get 1 to 2 bars at home but last night the network was down for and ten min around 2am, my signal strength was at full bars for about 2 minutes and now stays 2 to 3 bars. also mines rooted, which the “H” icon stayed solid. in standby and calls it stays on 3G as soon as i use data it switches to H until the phone is done with data, user or background. its faster and a better signal 3 to 4 bars speeds a little faster, but overall signal strength is much better. the techs are tweaking and upgrading so be patience the weather is not helping but all day I’ve have great 3.5G all over town!! Columbus,Ga.

    • jeff

      Wow, this is so grammatically horrible I don’t even know what you’re saying.

  • Nathan

    The 3G issues happen occasionally for me, but the problems didn’t stop there. I could most likely handle some spotty 3G at times. My N1 would drop out of sync with the network several times per day (usually once every couple hours), and I would have to resort to power cycling it. After hours on the phone with T-Mobile and HTC, I STILL do not have the problem resolved. To make matters worse, HTC doesn’t want to work with me on shipping times for a replacement. Very poor customer service. I don’t think it necessary to assign blame, but I do want someone to take responsibility and replace my phone in a TIMELY manner.

  • ItsMichaelNotMike

    Let’s total things up:

    1. An expensive phone.

    2. A confusing buying procedure, including only being available online. Many people like to see a phone before they buy.

    3. No support line in the event you need to call (now they have one, but damage is done, Google does not support its products).

    4. Outrageous penalty/fine if you return the phone (lowered but damage is done).

    5. Connectivity issues, even after a supposed fix.

    Sounds to me like Google has shot itself in the foot this time around. Maybe they need to stick with what they know, online advertising and ways to force its ads on us, even while we sleep.

    • analog spirit

      Yeah, this whole situation with the Nexus One has got me seriously re-thinking whether I should still get one… I don’t like the idea of Google essentially using us as their de-facto beta testers for such an expensive yet faulty and unfinished product.

  • Huchteman

    I ordered my nexus 2 days ago (after the big OTA update) and received it just yesterday afternoon. I had been noticing spotty reception when making calls which, ultimately, led me here to the google forum and droidstory’s link/video. I can very easily replicate the left-hand-right-hand trick also. I get it to drop 3G and go all the way down to 0 signal before flipping over to EDGE (inside or outside my Los Angeles apt).

  • Evan

    i own a nexus one and have never had this problem once. matter a fact i’ve never had one 3g problem at all. i live in orange county ca more specific mission viejo. I actually get better 3g then i thought i was going to get with tmob. I get better 3g then some of my friends with their iphones. not sure what this is all about.

  • Evan

    by the way the list of things you mentioned have been either fixed or addressed. i picked up my phone for 279 and you really have to be stupid if you cant order something online. i had seen enough videos of the thing to make the purchase and it was a lot more impressive then i thought it was going to be. I would say this is one of the best phones i have ever had. It just works perfectly and fast. I have no reason to return my phone and i’m not damaged by that fee. The phone doesnt come with a manual. Im capable enough to figure things out on my own and havent had to once check out some forum. I’ll leave that the ladies. I spent 289 on my nokia E71 which is about the same as price as the nexus one but only does half of what my nexus one does. its almost stone age. I’m sorry but if your going to buy something nice expect to pay something for it. Its totally worth it.

  • JonInAtlanta

    :Shrug: I haven’t had any problems with mine…. before or after the update.

  • DavidG

    Here in Hong Kong my telco, (CSL), provides good 3G coverage nearly everywhere. It’s quite difficult to find places where the phone switches to Edge. I have never seen “3G/Edge flip/flop”.

    I repeated the tests shown in the video at a number of locations including ones where the signal strength, with the phone being held at the top, was around -79 dBm. (Most places it is at least 10 dBm better than this).

    The difference between my results and those on the video is that on average I get a10 dBm difference in signal strength between holding the phone at the top and at the bottom while the video shows an average difference of 30 dBm.

    I don’t know whether CSL use the same bands as T mobile. If they don’t it is just conceivable that the bands use by CSL suffer much less attenuation when passing through hands than those used by T mobile. This seems highly improbable to put it mildly….

    A more likely explanation would seem to be some hardware difference between phones probably due to manufacturing tolerance in components or assembly.

    Maybe some of those who have reported on this forum that, like me, they are not having any problems could carry out the test shown in the video and report the signal level differences when the phone is held at the top and at the bottom?

    PS. For those that haven’t done it before you get the screen shown in the video by dialling *#*#4636#*#* and then selecting “Phone Information”

  • Wandborg

    I’m sitting in Sweden and having the same result as everyone else. Supplier TELIA with the best coverage in Sweden, 95 percent of people living in the country can get HSDPA.
    I live about 250-300 meters from the HSDPA/UMTS antenna and can sporadic get coverage.
    When testing the speed I get 4.7mb/second when laying my phone on the kitchen table, holding it as we normally does I get 0.2-0.5mb/second UMTS speed.
    Even when standing beneath the antenna holding the phone normally the signals comes and goes.

    With my SE phone I always have HSDPA 4-5mb/second where ever I go.

    If I don’t get a fix soon I have to send it back, this phone is in all men one of the best I ever had, but with out HSDPA it SUCKS!!!

  • jeff

    I love the device in every other way, but it’s the worst cell phone I’ve ever had. I DO live in an area ith spotty 3G coverage, but every other phone on the market has been able to deal with that by making their phones switch seamlessly from 3G to non-3G areas. Except Google and HTC, apparently. So, despite it being awesome in terms of the OS, I could not recommend this phone to ANYONE.

  • http://Tmonews Wojax2

    “And the truth will set you free”. Seems like google should quit casting the first stone(@t-mobiles network).apparently( despite many of you claiming it’s the networks fault) google got a little ahead of themselves when releasing this good but, unfinished product. The arrogance they displayed by not properly finishing testing with t- mob on the network clearly shows now. They thought if they could just blame the lack of network coverage(which by the way was totally unprofessional),that the blame wouldn’t come their way. Just to arrogant,and stubborn. I mean c’mon people, what company releases a prime product without t.v or any other advertisement commercials?!. Even crAPPLE realeases commercials for their product. Google needs to get on the ball with these issues to be competitive in the true smartphone market(hardware). This reminds me of girl I dated in school. I took her out,bought her things and fell in love. Only then did I get bitch-slapped into reality when she told me, “I was just a good friend”..wake up google

  • mistertowjam

    No problems with 3g switching back to edge ..sometimes, the connections drops for a few minutes but doesn’t go back to edge ..just stays on 3g with no signal and eventually re-connects

  • sam

    I previously owned the mytouch and just got the nexus one last weekend. I have noticed a extreme difference in my service. I don’t even get 3G in my city, but places where I used to get service I no longer do. I barely even get service in my own house anymore. It’s rediculous.

  • lhstech

    I tested what he did on my Nexus One. The connection drop happened to me the same way it did to him.

    If it were a software issue then it would not matter where I held my phone as it would react the same way each time. So I ran some speed tests on my phone and this is what the results were of those tests.

    If I hold my phone on the bottom my speed tests that I ran gave me 1.6 Mbps. I ran several speed tests consecutively and tracked the same results each time.

    For this to happen I believe it has to be a hardware problem. So the question now is do you blame Google or HTC??? Who was responsible for the bad chip that has been placed inside the phone?

    Beyond that what remedy is Google going to provide since they are ultimately responsible for the phone (since they have taken complete ownership of it) regardless of who (HTC???) did what that caused the problem in the first place.

    I think this will be a great test to see if Google will step up and fix the problem going on with the Nexus One phones. I think a recall is in order to get the bad hardware either replaced or a new phone given to existing Nexus One owners.

    • lhstech

      For some reason my speed tests did not post above. Here they are again for sake of reference.

      Holding the bottom of the phone: my speeds were consistently less than 0.5 Mbps

      Holding the top of the phone: my speeds were consistently over 1.6 Mbps

      Again I ran the tests several times just to be sure and they always came out the same way with the listed speeds above.

  • lhstech

    For some reason my speed tests are not posting. Here are the results of my speed test again for sake of reference.

    If I hold the bottom of the phone: I tracked my speeds at less than 0.5 Mbps

    If I hold the top of the phone: I tracked my speeds at 1.6 Mbps or over

    These tests were repeated several times with the same results.

  • shivers316

    Can’t say I’ve had any 3g problems either. Same reception I got with my G1 and myTouch. Worse battery life than the myTouch but what can you expect?

  • Hal

    It appears that cupping the antenna in the palm and using the body as an antenna changes the resonance and boost the signal strength for the 3G freq. Unfortunately, the video is from a signal position. It would be interesting to see if this effect is positionally sensitive. Are Edge and 3G always co-located on the same tower?

  • SEFan

    Well this is all very timely. I was just about to pull the trigger on a Nexus 1 purchase, but wondered if the 3G issue had been cleared up…

    The antenna problem seems plausible. I saw the same sort of thing migrating from several candy bar SE phones (antenna somewhere in the body) to an SE flip with the antenna at the top of the phone. Suddenly my GSM signal went from 3 bars to 5 in my office. The problem I see is that this is a common issue for bar/slab phones: where are you going to put the antenna where gripping the phone DOESN’T cover the antenna? The top of the device seems the obvious choice, but I know nothing about the requirements for antennas that have to send receive quad-band GSM + 3G on AWS + Bluetooth + WiFi + GPSr… did I miss anything? Perhaps the thin profile of this phone works against a more robust antenna. Obviously HTC knows how to do antennas – N1s have been having probs in the same spots where MyTouches and G1s and Touch Pro 2s are good. Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the iPhone show this sort of problem on AT&T in some markets?

    I’m sure T-Mo’s 3G network isn’t helping because 1700 mhz isn’t going to penetrate structures or range over the air as effectively as a lower frequency. My brother notes that in Europe (he lives in Germany), where WCDMA is all on 2100 mhz, you can see the same effects inside certain buildings. It helps of course that the continent is pretty saturated w/ 3G base stations. You may pay through the nose for roaming onto a competitor’s 3G network, but you’ll get a signal. It will be interesting to see how the Verizon version of this phone handles 3G. Verizon’s 3G is at 850 mhz, and their 3G network is denser – not as dense as those tiresome commercials would have us believe, but denser.

    Anyway, I’m holding off while this Perfect Storm of hardware/software/network issues works itself out. It will be interesting to see how 3G works on the Touch HD when it arrives.

    I wonder if HTC could make a new back for the Nexus, sort of like the ones that accomodate larger batteries but with a larger, better antenna. For those with 3G issues, maybe sacrificing a bit of the thinness for better reception… Just sayin’.

  • Todd

    I’m soooooooo glad I waited for the HTC HD2 instead.

  • Steven

    I havent had any problems before or after the update.

    but i am in love with this phone.

  • http://Tmonews Wojax2

    Me too.. I’m not trying to knock android but, it just seems like they haven’t produced the hardware good enough for the software. Not that winmo is supergreat but, at least their hardware is normally solid. Just saying, not trying to start a flame-boy war.

  • http://Tmonews Wojax2

    Except for maybe the g1. Regardless of what you may think it is a solid piece of hardware. Just saying.

  • Tim

    I could be wrong, but I won’t be surprised if the HD2 does the same thing, or similar. It all depends upon the phone’s antenna design and location. I’m not an absolute expert, but I do understand radio communication pretty well and I can see why the problem occurs with the antenna at the bottom of the phone where your hand usually is:

    1. Your hand can cause some attenuation, resulting in less signal.

    2. Since your body is a conductor and the phone case an insulator, there’s capacitance, resulting in de-tuning of the antenna (making it less efficient). Considering the REALLY short wavelength at 1700MHz, small changes in capacitance are going to be really noticeable. That has the same effect as attenuation (less signal received/transmitted), just happening for a different reason.

    I think the real problem here is the band T-Mo got stuck with. It’s the old “you snooze, you lose” thing. T-Mo didn’t buy up spectrum in the “good” bands while it was available. If they were on 850MHz, I’m willing to bet these issues would be a lot less prominent.

    Personally, I think that’s VZW’s “secret to their success” when it comes to the network. They got the best frequency band in terms of what the end user sees as performance.. It penetrates buildings, works in more places, etc. There’s a big difference in how 850 and 1700 propagate, and that’s going to be T-Mobile’s bane for a long time to come.

    • rossi

      “There’s a big difference in how 850 and 1700 propagate, and that’s going to be T-Mobile’s bane for a long time to come.”


    • watbetch

      You’re a moron. First of all T-Mobile had NO chance of buying 850mhz spectrum, and nothing but pure ignorance would suggest otherwise.

      “It penetrates buildings, works in more places, etc. There’s a big difference in how 850 and 1700 propagate, and that’s going to be T-Mobile’s bane for a long time to come.”

      Verizon uses PCS for EV-DO. Care to explain? If I recall they have the LARGEST 3G network.

      There is NO excuse for a signal being 30dBm weaker when your hand is placed over the antenna. Put the blame where it belongs and it’s not on the Network.

      Of course there is rossi stroking you off because you think it’s T-Mobile and not HTC.

      • rossi

        Poor watbetch… you don’t know shit about frequency propagation. Idiot.

      • rossi

        Verizon has the bigger 3G network simply because of network saturation (READ: more towers). I personally like HSPA better than EVDO, but you’re an ignorant fool(yep) if you think that a combination of freqency propagation and inadequate 3G saturation is not at least partially to blame for the 3G issues users are experiencing. I will not (and did not) say that HTC is not somewhat to blame here, but again, in foolishness, you made incorrect assumptions.

        Poor Watbetch.

      • watbetch

        You “personally” like HSPA over EV-DO? WTF does that have to do with anything? EV-DO is going nowhere, it’s FINISHED.

        I already know the reason why Verizon has a larger 3G network you fool, if you would have read closer into what I said you would’ve noticed that I was simply mentioning that Verizon has the largest 3G network mostly operating on a “high” frequency like T-Mobile’s own AWS 3G network, notwithstanding their existing 2G PCS network.
        Having the 3G network on a high frequency has nothing to do with this issue which is CLEARLY due to the phone.

        Care to explain why others have no problem with 3G on other handsets? I didn’t think so.

        Of course you’re a numb skull so I shouldn’t expect any less from you.

      • rossi

        I read you’re argument, dipshit, it clearly says “Verizon uses PCS for EV-DO. Care to Explain?” My explanation is that it has higher saturation because of more towers. You failed to make the connection that their high frequency network experiences the same penetration issues, but that they have more towers to combat the issues tmobile users experience.

        For the record, there is another person a few posts down saying that their MT3G does the same thing when covered by his hand. My Behold and TP2 do the same thing, so I guess you’re wrong that it is device specific. I’ll buy the argument that it is worse on the Nexus, but that has not been my experience. I bet you don’t even own a nexus, so you really have no clue (no surprise there).

      • watbetch

        Can you read? Of course not!

        I said care to explain because the original poster in this thread correlated Verizon’s large 3G footprint to their use of 850mhz spectrum for 3G which is NOT case. They use a freq. much closer to what T-Mobile uses for their 3G.

        “Personally, I think that’s VZW’s “secret to their success” when it comes to the network. They got the best frequency band in terms of what the end user sees as performance.. It penetrates buildings, works in more places, etc. ”

        And the rest of the garbage you’re talking about. Covering the antenna with your hand is sure to make the signal weaker, but the only time it should drop out is when it’s weak to begin with. If 3G is coming in at -79dBm and 2G is at -75dBm in the same position and placing your hand over the antenna drops the 3G connection out COMPLETELY and makes for an EXTREMELY weak 2G signal at -99dBm there is CLEARLY an issue with this phones antenna. Blocking the antenna with your hand should only make the signal drop at -10dBm TOPS..

      • rossi

        “And the rest of the garbage you’re talking about. Covering the antenna with your hand is sure to make the signal weaker, but the only time it should drop out is when it’s weak to begin with. If 3G is coming in at -79dBm and 2G is at -75dBm in the same position and placing your hand over the antenna drops the 3G connection out COMPLETELY and makes for an EXTREMELY weak 2G signal at -99dBm there is CLEARLY an issue with this phones antenna. Blocking the antenna with your hand should only make the signal drop at -10dBm TOP”

        And what I am saying is that my TP2 and Behold behave the EXACT same way. Therefore, there are 3 phones from 2 different manufacturers with weak antennae or the network is also to blame. I guess I’ll agree with you that it is probably just the antennae. /end sarcasm.

      • Tim

        I love when someone’s reply begins with “you’re a moron”. I’m a moron? Brother, you have no idea. Regardless, starting off your reply like that does nothing to lend you credibility. I’ll remain civil with you, just to show goodwill.

        Let’s quit the flame war… Regardless whether or not I’m correct about exactly what’s going on (recall I my post saying I’m NOT an expert), the fact is that things aren’t working the way they should. Doesn’t really matter why; all I give a poo about is that it gets fixed and my phone starts working like I expect it to.

        If I’m incorrect, that’s fine. Everyone’s wrong sometimes. Go ahead and correct the facts if you’re more knowledgeable, but there’s no need to be insulting about it.


  • Tim

    BTW – my solution (and suggestion) is this:

    I plan to “serve out” the rest of the time I’m under contract (family plan) and see if these things can be sorted out. If they can, I’ll stay with TMo and life is good. If not, I’m then free to move on. That gives ‘em about 12 more months to get it right; I figure if they can’t fix things in that amount of time, it’s probably an exercise in futility.

    I’m not “hatin on” TMo, just simply looking at performance. If my stuff isn’t working, I really don’t care whose fault it is. Whether HTC’s phone, TMo’s network, or Google’s foibles is immaterial to me; the end result is that my phone isn’t doing what I want.

  • dennis p

    tried this dudes test, his n1 is broken. Mines fine

  • anthony

    I think its hardware issue but not sure here is why.Google basically threw T-Mobile under the bus earlier with the ota they sent out. T-Mobile must have seen or heard about this video which shows its not their fault the N1 is having issues even after being bitch slapped they wont defend themselves. I am rational and so are you wouldn’t you defend your self unless perhaps you couldn’t just thoughts

  • Marvin

    I like Google as well as anyone else, but I think you all have jumped to quick in purchasing this phone. Why would you purchase a phone you can’t even try, especially if you live in a non 3G area? Google isn’t a perfect company and their phone proves it. I would at least wait for the next generation phone (if their is one) before I would even think about it!

  • Esoom

    Can you imagine what’s going to happen when this phone goes live on ATT 3G or Verizon…

    Note to self, sell Google stock ASAP, I see a world of bad PR coming Google’s way…

    “We’ve determined American’s hands are too big to use this phone…”

    • dan

      T-MOBILE OFFERS CHEAP SERVICE ON A CHEAP NETWORK. It’s that simple, my phone switches back and forward from EDGE to GPRS,forget 3G, but hey my plan it’s 20$ less compared to Verizon and ATT. Wireless networks in US are years behind the rest of the world. But the prices? oh well, that’s a different story.

      • watbetch

        Switching between GPRS is a handset issue, if EDGE is available the phone should chose it over GPRS.

        I had my HTC Android phone show GPRS where my iPhone was clearly still streaming music over EDGE. It was the phones fault buddy..

  • money mo

    So do we get a new phone or what?????? What are we suppose to do????? Who is responsible?????????? Do we get a replacement??????

  • anthony

    I like a lot of the comments I’ve been reading . I have a problem phone but you guys and gals with these post make it easier.we don’t know what’s wrong we can speculate. The big three betcha bottom dollar know what’s.I can’t see att or Verizon jumping on this. I don’t know their release dates but if its pushed back sounds like hardware to me and we should be due new orfixed phones.I hope its just software but time will tell.

  • byounngg

    i was able to0 do this same test with my my touch so it has to do with the static electricity in your body i guess , not limited to 1 device ill make a vid if you ll like

  • ejaydroid

    Well my 3g issuse aint that servier and I have to say that look likes a faulty device because I cover up my nexus and most it goes down is a bar. My issues is inconsistent speed and the ever so annoying connection timed out. However I have noticed this week I have seen far less connection isusses . Maybe tmo did something? Anyone else notice it to?

  • Dan


    • watbetch

      You’re a moron. It’s that simple.

      • Scritz Mcgritz

        LOL Yeah your a moron DAN!
        So happy I didn’t get the N1. I still want it though. Hopefully I can wait until the Supersonic comes out.

  • money mo

    Now I’m scared to buy the HTC hd2!!!!,

  • Joe

    Had a G1 with no 3G dropout problems (even though there were many other issues), but the N1 dropped 3G constantly. The OTA fix has improved it by 50% at best. Still dropping out in areas the G1 always worked.

    Its the phone stupid.

    And I’m the stupid one for buying it…Never again will I buy anything HTC.

  • Jack

    This is clearly not a T-Mobile issue. I live in the middle east and experience the same issues when holding the phone. Explain that!

  • macalex

    It looks like not a hardware problem but a problem with your hands ;)
    Did you try to hold with your right hand metal things, like fork or spoon? ;)
    You are magnetic field guy, as you can see the baseband firmware also change CID (Cell ID) but actually it’s could be only problem with your GSM/3G provider, they didn’t setup a smooth routing between two type of networks that is why you loose signal. You have to try with netmonitor and another phone and do the same thing in the same place, the same thing, like close baseband with your hand. ;)

  • macalex

    iPhone loose signal as well in the phone case with magnetic locks.

  • cZtatic

    Exactly what was happening… after the update, I felt the update seem to equate to as before.
    Now it seems its a hardware problem were the position of the antennae is in question.
    Of which we would like to see a eventual fix specially we paid good money for it.

  • Iceman

    I am having HUGE problems with this. My phone is great but the ability to talk on the phone (it should be a phone 1st) has been greatly compromised due to what I think is a hardware issue. It is annoying beyond belief to pay over 500.00 for a phone and not be able to hold a conversation in an area where there is a signal. My son standing right next to me with my old g1 has 4 bars and I stand directly next to him and have no signal at all or barely 1 bar! WTH!! I can’t take much more of this I love my phone but I need T-mobile, HTC, Google someone to get this fixed!