File under: what was the point of that?

Apple iPhone 3G users have been blighted with poor 3G reception since day one. So bad is the problem that it prompted Apple to release an iPhone software update which has had mixed results. Apple says iPhone OS 2.0.2 improved 3G communications, many users have said it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever.

Now, just to add to the confusing array of opinions, a Swedish company selling wireless device test chambers has apparently tested an iPhone 3G and concluded everything is fine.

No doubt that Bluetest, the company in question, performed perfectly viable tests under laboratory conditions. Its testing chambers are used by many of the world's major mobile phone manufacturers after all.

The testing antenna engineer, who comes complete with a M.Sc in Engineering Physics attached, has said that the values were completely normal, and compared them with test results for a Sony Ericsson P1 and a Nokia N73. The difference between all three was minimal. The iPhone was tested with WLAN, GPS and Bluetooth switched off and then again with them all on. The Bluetest boffins concluded that there was no obvious interference from any 'noise' caused by the assorted connections.

OK, so this means that the iPhone 3G hardware is not at fault, that Apple are off the hook and that it must be the network operators that are causing the 3G reception problems. Right?

Despite the fact that many people in the media are now reporting just that, and laying the headline blame squarely at the mobile network operators, I would say wrong, wrong, wrong.

Not least because I suspect that the tests are fundamentally flawed because they revolve around a sample of one. What's more, that sample was not one that had been impacted by any 3G reception problems. The reporter whose phone was used in the tests admits that "my iphone has worked perfectly" and says that "the only time a call has been disconnected was on the train to Stockholm, and that has happened with other mobiles as well."

So what does this tell us? Basically that a properly working iPhone 3G has been tested and found to be working properly. No surprise there then, other than that the testers and the reporter in question did not think it might be a good idea to actually test five or six iPhones and compare the results. Maybe even ensuring that some of the handsets were ones that the owners had been having 3G connectivity problems with.

The publication of this report was meant to bring scientific fact into the iPhone 3G connectivity debate, but all it has succeeded in doing is throwing a huge lump of FUD at it instead...

You are wrong, wrong, wrong.

The results are completely valid.

Testing a well-working iPhone 3G and finding that its reception and transmission is essentially identical to a Sony and Nokia 3G phone is valid. The primary reason is that every one of the millions of iPhone 3G out there is a CLONE of the other.

This means that if Apple is to blame, then it is on some rare manufacturing defect. It is then NOT a widespread problem.

This is in contrast to YOUR FUD where you make the illogical conclusion that there is more uncertainty now with these results.

The results should be no surprise. It should be expected.

The primary conclusion is that: The Networks are to blame for poor 3G results.

iPhone users are high utilizers of data. Despite their small proportion of the total smartphone market, they make an enormous proportion of the smartphone users surfing the internet.

It should come as no surprise that the sudden and huge increase in data usage from millions of new iPhone users has OVERWHELMED existing 3G networks. All of the new iPhone users are overwhelming, in particular, the young and weakly established AT&T 3G network.

Further, another site has shown that some carriers are deliberately throttling network access of iPhone 3G users versus other 3G phones - apparently to keep their networks from being overwhelmed. This, by the way, smells of a lawsuit if this is happening in the U.S.

I blame the 3G access problems in the U.S. squarely on AT&T's 3G network. In rural areas with few 3G users, I find AT&T's network works surprisingly well and fast. But in more populated cities, AT&T's 3G network download speeds are lower and I get bumped off more frequently when trying to make a call.

Apple's 2.0.2 firmware update HAS improved voice and data connectivity on the 3G network for me. I have been able to now consistently connect.

But speed problems are a NETWORK PROBLEM.

As Verizon ads say, "It's the network, stupid!"

It is TOO BAD that Verizon is stuck with the CDMA protocol, making it completely incompatible with the worldwide GSM protocol, which the iPhone uses. A Verizon phone CANNOT be used outside the U.S. unless it has extra hardware to be compatible with GSM. The iPhone is completely incompatible with Verizon's network. Even if Apple was non-exclusive with AT&T, Verizon's network is totally incompatible with the iPhone. Thus, the only other choice is T-Mobile - which is so very far behind AT&T in creating a 3G network. Additionally, T-mobile may have shot its foot by chosing a 3G frequency which is incompatible with the iPhone.