update Telstra customers with an iPhone 4S who have been losing reception will soon breathe a sigh of relief, as the telco giant has promised to fix the network issue.
The issue, reported on Whirlpool as early as October, and expanding with the release of iOS 5.0.1, causes Telstra customers to first lose 3G signal, before the handset dumps its cellular signal entirely. Often the signal returns after searching for around 60 seconds.
According to Telstra, the problem is due to a hardware compatibility issue due to a network upgrade currently underway. The company has been working on a fix with Apple through software updates.
In a statement to ZDNet Australia, Telstra said that it believes the issue can be addressed in a change to network settings.
"Our engineers are currently investigating reports that in certain coverage locations some iPhone 4S customers are experiencing a temporary reduction in coverage. We expect to be able to address very soon with a change to our network settings," Telstra said.
The problem is not limited just to Telstra, with Apple Support forums noting that customers on AT&T in the US are also having the same issue.
It is not the first reported issue of the new smartphone device, with users noting a much shorter battery life for the 4S than in previous generations of the iPhone. Apple had acknowledged the battery issue and moved to address it in the iOS 5.0.1 update; however, many users continue to report battery issues for the phone.
The coverage dropouts are reminiscent of the problems Apple encountered with the release of the iPhone 4. Due to the metal band used in the device, if users held the phone on the bottom left-hand corner, they could cause the signal to drop out. Dubbed "antennagate", the incident led to the late Steve Jobs announcing that Apple would provide free bumpers to all iPhone 4 owners.
In the 4S, this issue was addressed by building dual antennas into the device, and moving the gap in the metal band up to the top left-hand corner.
Updated 12:18pm, 9 December 2011: Telstra has advised that this issue has now been resolved.