Mobile Technology News & Mobile Fun

New wave of outages impacts the plagued Google phone

By Scott M. Fulton, III, Betanews

Since early Friday morning, as hundreds of commenters on T-Mobile’s and Google’s support forums are reporting, 3G data connectivity service has been completely unavailable — for some, since approximately 4:30 am Eastern Time this morning, but for a great many more users beginning at 10:00 am. Some users in recent minutes are reporting service restored, although indications from both forums are that service can come back and go away again.

Users attempting to connect to the Internet are apparently being greeted with this message: “To connect to the Internet with the device you are using, you’ll need a webConnect data plan.” At least one customer, speaking with T-Mobile customer support this morning, was informed that he appeared to have been enrolled on the wrong data plan — specifically, one for the T-Mobile G1, not the Nexus One. If that’s the case for other customers as well, the problem could lie in T-Mobile’s database, which could be telling Nexus One users they’re not qualified to connect. Another customer reports having been told by a support rep at HTC (the phone’s manufacturer, where customers reportedly received the best service for the first outage) that T-Mobile is investigating its N1 customer databases.

Once again, the outage is not complete — some users nationwide report full 3G connectivity.

Some customers report being concerned that the problem may be caused by an over-the-air software update that Google promised last Tuesday, for possible release some time within the week. However, neither Google nor T-Mobile have indicated such a release actually happened. That OTA release would address an apparent bug affecting Nexus One phones with a particular firmware version, which was only loaded onto some phones. That firmware is what’s generally believed to have caused phones to flip between 2G and 3G service seemingly at random.

“Our engineers have uncovered specific cases for which a software fix should improve connectivity to 3G for some users,” stated Rafi, the self-described “Google Employee / Doofus Maximus” manning the company’s Nexus One support forum. “We are testing this fix now, initial results are positive, and if everything progresses as planned, we will provide an over-the-air software update to your phone in the next week or so. It may be, however, that users are experiencing problems as a result of being on the edge or outside of 3G coverage, which a product fix cannot address.”

At least one T-Mobile customer has finally been pushed past the breaking point: “I’m so-o-o past disappointed right now,” writes nikelife. “This is like the zillionth problem I’ve had with this phone. It soft resets all the time, 3G is intermittent, T-Mobile shuts my phone all the way off because I’m texting ‘a lot,’ and now I get no data and I have e-mails I have to get when I step away from work today. This is horrible.”

Copyright Betanews, Inc. 2010

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