While Apple officials now claim that iPhone OS 2.0.2 delivers "improved communication with 3G networks" in an attempt to fix widespread reception/connectivity issues, users are mixed on the subject; some report slightly enhanced 3G reception, a minority report worse 3G reception, and most report no change.
iPhone Atlas reader Reader Chasulme is in the mild-improvement camp:
"The upgrade to 2.0.2 has made my iPhone 3G go from a completely inoperable 3G mode (had to be kept off or disabled), to be pleasingly functional (all things considered). In testing since the upgrade, I find that flat out "No Service" at my home has now shifted to 1-2 bars 3G."
And this reader is in the worse-off camp:
"I use to get 1-3 bars of 3g service in my house and now I cant make a call? I have to switch off the 3G to get any bars Things are going the wrong way!"
Reader John G is in the no-improvement camp:
"I took AT&T coverage maps showing five locations that should have full signal strength and have virtually no signal. They mentioned the new update released today (2.0.02) but wouldn't disclose what it was designed to fix. They also replaced my phone and loaded the latest update. I've been back to two of the five locations (home and office) and there is absolutely no improvement in my 3G connection. I'll be calling Apple and asking for Steve Jobs cell number or a refund and release from my contract."
It does appear that, even if reception hasn't been enhanced for most users, Apple has made improvement in one significant area. The iPhone 3G automatically switches between 3G and 2G networks for voice and data connections. In theory, the phone should hop off 3G when signal strength is too low or non-existent, and hop back on when the signal gets better. Previously, the iPhone 3G wasn't aggressive enough regarding the switch from 3G to 2G. In other words, the phone stayed connected to the 3G network when the signal strength is too low to allow incoming or outgoing calls. The iPhone OS 2.0.2 update appears to improve the switching mechanism.
As described by one iPhone Atlas reader:
"I find switchover (3G to EDGE) to now work reasonably, where it was useless before."