We have heard many people complaining that they are getting “no service” on their iPhone 5 with Vodacom. A few solutions to the problem have come up although we have discovered a much bigger problem.

It seems that Vodacom’s LTE network isn’t as reliable as we might think. The LTE networks that Vodacom and MTN are using are almost a way around a technically problem we have in South Africa with the Department of Communication. Ideally the networks would like to use a different spectrum to offer LTE but they can’t. So what Vodacom and MTN have done is take some of the existing spectrum they have and turned it into their LTE network. This poses problems for both 3G and LTE users as the network is still to full.

Some people have come forward with solutions that you may wish to follow if you are having this is however we have concluded that they are not the ultimate safe guard.

We have been informed that the only way to avoid the problem is to ensure that you don’t use Vodacom’s LTE network. To do this follw these steps:

  • Go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Network
  • Change the Cellilar Data APN to: iphone.vodacom.za or internet

If these steps done solve your problem then give Vodacom a call and ask them to deactivate LTE on your sim card.


12 Comments

Jannie@vodacom.co.za · February 17, 2013 at 8:39 pm

This is not a Vodacom or South African issue but is seen around the globe and not just on LTE. In fact, Apple had to release 6.1.1 quickly to address some of the no service issues.

Some workarounds have been implemented so it's not necessary to disable LTE on Vodacom.

Jannie@vodacom.co.za · February 17, 2013 at 8:39 pm

This is not a Vodacom or South African issue but is seen around the globe and not just on LTE. In fact, Apple had to release 6.1.1 quickly to address some of the no service issues.

Some workarounds have been implemented so it's not necessary to disable LTE on Vodacom.

michael@robertfamily.co.za · February 18, 2013 at 3:52 am

Hi Jan

6.1.1 was only for the iPhone 4S. It had nothing to do with LTE.

michael@robertfamily.co.za · February 18, 2013 at 3:52 am

Hi Jan

6.1.1 was only for the iPhone 4S. It had nothing to do with LTE.

jannie@vodacom.co.za · February 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Exactly, it only fixed the 3G issues. Hopefully we'll see a 6.1.2 for the rest soon.

jannie@vodacom.co.za · February 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Exactly, it only fixed the 3G issues. Hopefully we'll see a 6.1.2 for the rest soon.

Marcus · February 19, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Hi Jan, unfortunately this is a south african issue (Due to the refarming of the existing network to provide for the new LTE service). I am in Germany every few weeks and my Telekom LTE works perfectly fine and I do not have any "No Service" issues there. Here in S.A. I unfortunately have had the "No Service" issue at least once a week… I don't believe that this is something that can be fixed with a software update – It will be up to ICASA to finally allocate the spectrum so that Vodacom (and others) can provide adequate coverage and a better service throughout the region. What are your thoughts?

jannie@vodacom.co.za · February 19, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Hi,

European operators are also seeing it, confirmed. Likely you're seeing it less in Germany as their LTE footprint is substantially bigger thus fewer handover to 3G occur which is where it broke in SA.

But Vodacom implemented a workaround so it should be OK now.

Sprectrum refarming is a different concept and all it implies is that some of the 3G spectrum is used for LTE. Refarming cannot be the cause for the 'no service" issue but you are right that the lack of spectrum allocation hampers the rollout of LTE in SA. Vodacom can comfortably deploy 100Mb/s+ speeds if enough spectrum was available.

jannie@vodacom.co.za · February 19, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Hi,

European operators are also seeing it, confirmed. Likely you're seeing it less in Germany as their LTE footprint is substantially bigger thus fewer handover to 3G occur which is where it broke in SA.

But Vodacom implemented a workaround so it should be OK now.

Sprectrum refarming is a different concept and all it implies is that some of the 3G spectrum is used for LTE. Refarming cannot be the cause for the 'no service" issue but you are right that the lack of spectrum allocation hampers the rollout of LTE in SA. Vodacom can comfortably deploy 100Mb/s+ speeds if enough spectrum was available.

blake@tbimages.co.za · February 27, 2013 at 6:23 am

Jannie, thats all good and well, however, I personally have seen little to no improvement the last few weeks.

Without LTE enabled, generally my iPhone5 is stable, only occasionally switching down to no service and requiring a reboot to find the network again.

With LTE enabled, it works happily for a while, then it drops to a voice only connection, no data, for a while before switching down to no service and requiring a reboot. This happens in areas where the network coverage plots claim strong LTE coverage.

In short, it would appear the work arounds are not working. I have logged a fault with data over 2 weeks ago and besides a call from a customer rep promising to have it sorted out and that someone will get back to me, still no joy or feed back. Quite typical of Vodacom.

blake@tbimages.co.za · February 27, 2013 at 6:23 am

Jannie, thats all good and well, however, I personally have seen little to no improvement the last few weeks.

Without LTE enabled, generally my iPhone5 is stable, only occasionally switching down to no service and requiring a reboot to find the network again.

With LTE enabled, it works happily for a while, then it drops to a voice only connection, no data, for a while before switching down to no service and requiring a reboot. This happens in areas where the network coverage plots claim strong LTE coverage.

In short, it would appear the work arounds are not working. I have logged a fault with data over 2 weeks ago and besides a call from a customer rep promising to have it sorted out and that someone will get back to me, still no joy or feed back. Quite typical of Vodacom.

Sam · March 9, 2013 at 2:34 am

I've also being experiencing issues with LTE. So much so that I have now disabled it to ensure I have a slower but more reliable data connection. This is around the Durban area, most recently at the airport.

It's shows strong LTE signal but data is non-existent and only swapping down to 3G helps.

Hopefully Vodacom and ICASA sort themselves out soon…

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