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OK, after having reviewed the Samsung DROID Charge, reviewing and owning a DROID BIONIC, and hearing from many Thunderbolt users, it seems like one problem is common to all Verizon 4G handsets: a dropping 3G data connection. So far, I've observed the following:

My BIONIC often refuses to get a 3G data connection back when switching from Wi-Fi or 4G back to 3G. If I switch to Airplane Mode and back, sometimes I'll get the 3G connection back, sometimes I won't. In the About Phone -> Status menu, it says the mobile data network is "connecting." Sometimes I end up having to reboot.

Additionally, when attempting to use the phone in CDMA-only mode, the phone seems to decide to drop its 3G connection at random and refuse to get it back - even on reboot the phone is slow to acquire signal. I noticed a similar problem on the DROID Charge.

Is there any theory as to why this is happening? Do all Verizon's LTE phones share a common chipset model? Because it sounds to me like whoever makes the chipset is doing a real bang-up job of shipping phones with near-defective radios or radio firmware. As it appears to happen across three different manufacturers, the buck falls on Verizon and their LTE chip partner. I'm frankly getting very, very annoyed with this problem and think it needs some public exposure with good empirical evidence that it happens on all LTE handsets on Verizon.

So, I'm asking for your assistance in that regard as well. Leave a comment about your experiences with Verizon's LTE phones and connection drop issues, with as much detail as possible. Of course, the answer I'm looking for here is as to why this is happening, but I think this is going to be a fairly long ongoing investigation. If you've found a method of fixing or working around this issue on your Android phone, please leave that an an answer as well!

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As a Q&A site we're not well-suited to gathering experiences, so I amended your question to solicit experiences as comments rather than answers. I also added an explicitly Android-specific aspect (workarounds) so it's on-topic. That said this is a really interesting question, hopefully we can get some solid info about the LTE chips. –  Matthew Read Sep 20 '11 at 18:49
    
Thanks for the edit, Matt. I'm still pretty new around here! –  DavidAP Sep 20 '11 at 18:49
    
This is the primary reason why I didn't switch to Verizon after having enough of Sprint's crappy 3G. I have been testing the Tbolt that Verizon doesn't want back (test unit), and it still do this day has this very issue, which is especially apparent when moving on the train to and from work. I wanted to like Verizon, but I just can't. At least Sprint it more stable in that regard. –  Artem Russakovskii Sep 20 '11 at 19:05
    
I've been having the exact same problem with my Bionic. I've been into the local Verizon store 5 times now to have the problem investigated. They've changed settings (CDMA-only), replaced the SIM card, replaced the entire phone (with a refurbed one that was probably replaced for another customer for the same reason), and the last time simply restarted the phone and handed it back to me with a "tada". (#$^@!) I've installed the "Restart Connections" app that Cameron Wright suggested, but it shouldn't be necessary. Verizon shouldn't have released the phone in the first place if it wasn't ready. –  Jon Garvin Dec 6 '11 at 23:18
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3 Answers

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.dazbradbury.restartConnections

While not an actual solution - this app does remedy (99% of the time, in my experience) the connectivity issues.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

It seems the issue is network authentication problems caused by Verizon's switch to a UICC SIM-based authentication for both 3G and 4G connections on all of its 4G LTE devices. See this article:

http://www.androidpolice.com/2011/12/19/this-is-why-your-verizon-galaxy-nexus-or-other-4g-lte-vzw-phone-is-losing-data-signal/

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At least for the Droid Bionic, this appears to be a known software issue. This post on the Motorola support forums includes the following listing.

Marginal 4G to 3G transition: Loss of data connectivity - The device may display 3G service indication but no data connections are possible. Action: The user will need to power cycle the device or enable/disable Airplane Mode. Resolution: A fix for this issue is under review and will be included in the first post launch maintenance release software for this device. The tentative release date is early November 2011.

The "November 2011 update" has not been released as of December 6, 2011.

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5.5.893 just landed on my phone. Hopefully I've seen the last of the connection issues. –  Jon Garvin Dec 9 '11 at 22:32
    
5.9.901 (Changelog) and 5.9.902 shortly after solved many connectivity issues on the Bionic. Comments on the Motorola Bionic support forum seem to suggest that it solved the problem for many, but not all, Bionic users, including mine. –  TomG Mar 17 '12 at 3:42
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