Ever since I bought an iPhone 7, I had an issue with my internet connection. I was using Free, the French carrier known for misleading Wi-Fi networks and affordable international roaming.
It wasn’t until this summer that I’ve learned that my spotty reception issues were common amongst Free users! Apparently, Free has some sort of agreement with Orange, that the former uses the 3G infrastructure of the latter, but at a throttled speed, while 2G and 4G physical networks are fully separate. The process is supposed to be invisible for the user - the displayed provider name is always Free. Most smartphones struggle when it comes to switching from 3G to 2G or 4G (while switching providers), for reasons that are beyond my comprehension. I’ve seen numerous reports on the web about this, and my coworkers told me they’ve seen these issues with Free, too.
However the last drop was a new symptom my phone developed this summer, where after switching to 3G it was missing calls and SMS in addition to data; all while displaying a strong 3G connection! The symptoms disappeared after switching to the airplane mode or complete loss of connection (like in subway), but I had to notice the lack of connectivity myself. Needless to say, it was pretty irritating.
So I’ve decided to switch to Orange, reasoning that if its 3G infrastructure was good enough for Free to lease, it should really be pretty great. Additionally, they offer a second SIM to share your data plan on another device, which is ideal for the iPad. My new SIM card arrived promptly in my mailbox, but imagine my horror when the problem only grew worse after the switch! Now, in addition to my previous issues, my phone stopped picking up data connection altogether.
I was devastated. I thought, if changing providers didn’t help, it must be my phone! Luckily, it’s under warranty still, but what’s the first thing they’ll do in the Apple store when I bring it in? They’ll hard-reset it, right? I can do that myself! So I made a backup and performed a restore of my phone, setting it up as new. Reinstalling applications and logging into them took me half a day, and after this tedious process I was ready to leave home and check if the reset helped. Last moment before I left, I noticed that in Settings I have a loading indicator next to Personal Hotspot, as if my phone was undecided wether it can let me use it or not. And so I looked this symptom up, and the Orange website instructed me to... activate my SIM.
Two minutes later, my SIM was active, my reception issues were gone for good. You might ask - but why didn’t I activate the SIM card upon reception? Well, I was mislead by the tons of papers Orange sent me with it; additionally, I couldn’t imagine that an unactivated SIM can make and receive calls, send SMS, and have data!
And since in the process I’ve reset my phone, I now have a clean one with 3 times less apps. I also had to reset my watch, which lead to loss of activity data (come on, Apple, find a way to sync this already). While setting it up, the Activity application offered me 3 choices of calorie goals - low, moderate, and active. Turns out, my previous goal was just under the default “moderate” one.
Maybe I should try to have a perfect month with the highest goal in September?