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HTC Thunderbolt Frustrations
novacthall
Member

This is my first post with this forum. I have been browsing it for some time and people here seem generally helpful, so I was encouraged to create this post. I have been having some difficulties with my HTC Thunderbolt, which I purchased last month. Hopefully someone here has experienced something similar, and any nudge in a better direction would be most helpful.

 

Specifically, the device seems to be incapable of maintaining a stable data connection. My home area is Charlotte, NC, which is universally renowned for having terrible cell service regardless of carrier, but this seems excessive even by the Queen City's standards. In the past, my wife's Droid 1 and my HTC Eris would occasionally drop 3G and lose data connection entirely, which led me to believe that it was just the area, the network, or one of the many, many joys of being a wireless customer, but it was always pretty temporary, and getting the connection back could be done manually. Since getting the phone, though, I've traveled a bit around the country and found that my luck doesn't seem to be tethered to the area. New York, New Jersey, Georgia, and Chicago all exhibit the same results, to my experience.

 

In short, what happens is:

1. 4G connection is indicated on the taskbar with good signal strength.

2. The indicator will disappear, though signal strength will not change.

At this point, one of a few things usually happens.

3a. The 4G indicator will come back, but no data comes in or out. Facebook will lag, Gmail will complain about not having a data connection, and everything stops communicating. There is a high probability of looping back to 2, above.

3b. 3G will appear in its place. It never sticks, and there is a high probability of looping back to 2, above.

3c. The dreaded 1x appears in its place. I die a little inside, and there is a high probability of looping back to 2, above.

3d. Nothing. The data connection stays broken and while I can make calls and receive texts, I'm left essentially with a very nice, very expensive dumbphone (it's worth pointing out that none of my other dumbphones had a flippyclock, though, so at least there's that).

 

I have mixed success getting the data connection back by going into the Network Settings and manually shutting off the mobile data connection and then back on, but it doesn't work more often than not and to be totally honest now that I've read that I wrote that I feel like kind of a dummy for making that my go-to troubleshooting "solution."

 

Here is a brief list of things that have not worked:

  • Restarting the phone
  • Factory resetting the phone
  • *228 (I'm reading elsewhere that this has been replaced with something much longer, but no one seems to be reporting success with the reprogramming)
  • Toggling Airplane Mode (this worked wonders on my Eris)
  • Manually manipulating the wireless data connection
  • Offering to share my Dairy Queen Blizzard with Heath Bar in it if 4G will toggle on and stay on for a few minutes (clearly it will not listen to REASON!)

At this point I'm at a loss for what the problem could be. I lack sufficient evidence to rule out the phone, since elsewhere on the Internet people seem to have the same complaint, though since the latest OTA update I cannot seem to find any recent discussions detailing this problem. I similarly lack sufficient evidence

 

I want to love this phone, I really do. I loved my Eris before it was marked EOL. I have been and remain a loyal Verizon customer and love the 4G when I have it. Which is what makes not having it all the worse.

 

Has anyone had any luck with this problem, or can you share some advice for me that might point me in a direction that may reach resolution? Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful day!

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Re: HTC Thunderbolt Frustrations
w2014
Member

I had a similar problem with data, I would only get 1x or if I was lucky 3G sometimes and it would be extremely slow.

Replacing the Sim card corrected that problem. 

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Re: HTC Thunderbolt Frustrations
Ann154
MVP MVP
MVP
The *228 dialing should never be done on the Thunderbolt or any LTE device with a 4G LTE SIM card.

I will admit that my 3G likes to wink out and back a lot if I leave the phone in the CDMA + LTE /EDVO auto mode. For example, the signal will drop from -70 dbm to -125 dbm and back again. I haven't confirmed it yet, but it was especially bad the day of and after VZW lit up the most recent LTE cities. I will be running the phone that mode on the week of June 16th. All other times I leave the phone in CDMA Auto (PRL). I don't have 4G LTE here yet.

I'm most definitely NOT a VZW employee. If a post answered your question, please mark it as the answer.

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Re: HTC Thunderbolt Frustrations
shirokuro
Member

Hi novacthall,

 

It looks like you are having the same issue as myself - and in turn the same or similar issue as many people on these, and other forums.

 

I have 4 main problems with my Thunderbolt.

 

1) Occasionally (once every few days, or week) something will start eating the battery abnormally.  Device becomes alarmingly hot, current usage (checked via Current Widget) shoots up to anything between 500-1000mA, and the whole battery could be rained in 1-2 hours.  This happens without touching the device.  It is resolved by a reboot, and will stay fine for a few days - after which it will randomly happen again.  This began several weeks ago, right after Verizon had a nationwide LTE outage, which lasted for a few days.  The battery issue I described first happened to me maybe 1 or 2 days after the recovery of that outage.

 

2) Issues 2,3,4 started happening after the latest OTA update.  GPS seems unbreliable when using Google Navigation.  Firstly, it can take several minutes to acquire a lock, even in clear open sky.  Secondly, whilst driving home last week using Google Navigation, the GPS signal was abruptly lost - again, in clear open sky.  It stayed lost for several minutes and did not re-establish.  I switched from Navigation to Google Maps, and Google Maps immediately acquired GPS and showed no problems.  These GPS issues happened almost right afer the OTA update.  However, I rarely use the Navigation, so it's possible the issues were there prior to the OTA, but I never used the function.

 

3) Random occasional reboots.  Many many people are complaining about this issue.  I am fortunate that I have only observed it twice for sure - it may have happened more though.  I first noticed it a few days ago.  I was watching TV and the phone, sitting, untouched beside me, rebooted itself.  The very next day, issue 4 began.  I have since observed the reboot one more time - an hour ago - whilst the device was sitting next to me, again, untouched.  The interesting thing about the second reboot was that it occured even though I currently have the phone forced to 3G only mode (see below).

 

4) This is pretty much the data issue you described novacthall.  Data flips unpredictably between 4G, 3G, 1X and none.  Even when it says 4G, data seems to not actually work.  When it says 3G or 1X data does work - but it wont stay in those modes anyway.

 

For issue 4 I took the phone to the local Verizon store.  The assistant claimed not to know of this issue, but was nonetheless very patient and helpful.  We factory reset my phone -> no dice.  She put my SIM card in a new Thunderbolt -> no dice.  She got me a brand new SIM card, and put that in my phone -> no dice.

 

Since none of those things worked, she opened a trouble ticket, and promised that Tech Support would call me within 5 business days.  Whilst I am very appreciative of her help, 5 business days is ridiculous.  They should call me back ASAP.  The same or next day.  However, given that it's a holiday weekend in the US, I will give them until Tuesday.  I will be calling them on Tuesday if I have not heard from them.  With the amount of money this phone and plan costs, I do not find it acceptable to be expected to wait 5 days for tech support to deign to get back to me.

 

Having said that, given what I have read in these forums, I am not optimistic that tech support will be able to help.  I am not enamoured with the idea of being sent some second-hand replacement phone.  However, I will give them a chance - maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.

 

After all that, I have found a temporary way to make the phone usable for now - albeit without 4G.  This is described in several places, including other threads here - but to save you the trouble of searching, here is how to disable 4G.

 

1) Open the phone dialer

2) dial the following string:     *#*#4636#*#*

3) immediately upon typing the last * it will take you to a menu screen

4) On this menu screen, select the top item "Phone Information"

5) On the screen this brings up, scroll down to the item "Set preferred network type"

6) This item should be currently set to "CDMA+LTE/EvDO auto"

7) Change this item to "CDMA auto (PRL)"

😎 Hit the back button twice and you should get back to the phone dialer

9) You should find that your phone stays in 3G all or most of the time (assuming you have good 3G coverage)

10) If you want to reenable 4G you repeat the steps above, but set the "Set preferred network type" item back to "CDMA+LTE/EvDO auto"

 

This is not ideal as it leaves you without 4G whilst in effect, but at least your data should work on 3G and it's a workaround until Verizon fixes this mess.

 

As I discovered (and as noted in issue 3) it does not fix the rebooting issue though...  😞

 

I really hope Verizon and HTC fix this dreadful mess.  I owned an iPhone for years, and whilst it has its pros and cons, I never experienced anything like the trouble and hassle this Thunderbolt is causing me.  Just the fact that I'm having to spend half a weekend trawling through forums like this is bad enough!   😛

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Re: HTC Thunderbolt Frustrations
Ann154
MVP MVP
MVP

shirokuro wrote:

After all that, I have found a temporary way to make the phone usable for now - albeit without 4G.  This is described in several places, including other threads here - but to save you the trouble of searching, here is how to disable 4G.

 

1) Open the phone dialer

2) dial the following string:     *#*#4636#*#*

3) immediately upon typing the last * it will take you to a menu screen

4) On this menu screen, select the top item "Phone Information"

5) On the screen this brings up, scroll down to the item "Set preferred network type"

6) This item should be currently set to "CDMA+LTE/EvDO auto"

7) Change this item to "CDMA auto (PRL)"

😎 Hit the back button twice and you should get back to the phone dialer

9) You should find that your phone stays in 3G all or most of the time (assuming you have good 3G coverage)

10) If you want to reenable 4G you repeat the steps above, but set the "Set preferred network type" item back to "CDMA+LTE/EvDO auto"

 


You can shortcut to the Phone info by using this app.  LTE OnOff

 

https://market.android.com/details?id=net.andirc.lteonfoff&feature=search_result

I'm most definitely NOT a VZW employee. If a post answered your question, please mark it as the answer.

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Re: HTC Thunderbolt Frustrations
GreenRobot
Novice

@novacthall welcome to the club....

 

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Re: HTC Thunderbolt Frustrations
wgragg1
Member

I haven't had the reboot problems, at least not a lot of them, but I have sure had problems with it not maintaining a 4G connection and then just dropping data altogether.  For now, I have 4G turned off until there is a fix.

 

Having been in IT for almost 40 years, I try to cut companies some slack as I know that these things take a lot of time, but my honest opiniion is that the TB should have been better tested and even delayed until some of these major issues were resolved.  It was rushed to market with some major bugs, but now that it is out, I feel that VZW needs to step up to the plate and get them resolved.  The least they can do is better communicate with us about what is going on.  Some kind of discount for the phone not functioning as advertised would be nice, but I know that is not likely to happen.

 

I guess I should not have been so eager to be an early adopter....

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Re: HTC Thunderbolt Frustrations
SuperKNZ
Member

@shirokuro

Excellent post. This issue is more serious than poor battery performance, but there is no mention of it in the media. We should put pressure on VZW to find a solution.

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Re: HTC Thunderbolt Frustrations
AZSALUKI
Sr. Leader
Sr. Leader

+1 for the "LTE OnOFF" app. while i don't have these issues, i do use the app to manually switch between 4g only or 3g. when i'm slightly outside of town, the 4g will drain my battery much faster so i switch it to 3g with the app. it's just a lot easier than the manual method. the app is on my phone screen and it takes 3 quick taps to switch back and forth from 3g to 4g. i travel quite a bit so i leave it on 3g most of the time, but when i'm in town all day i like to force it to 4g only, as i'm in a great LTE area.

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Re: HTC Thunderbolt Frustrations
dragonbill
Member

I, also, have the issue of the 4G going away or not coming up at all.  I find this is really a case of location changs, moving from a WiFi connection to wireless 4G or between a 3G and 4G area.  Where I live the 4G coverage is good, but obviously the phone does not track well.  I think it gets confused.  Otherwise, when it works I love it. 

 

Note that when I was in another market for business, the 4G worked great.  I had to use the hotspot in the phone for up to 5 hours without issue!  Got back home and it started to act up. 

 

The update that I think they were pushing did not show up until early this month.  I installed it and it does not make any bit of difference.

 

Has anyone noticed that a VZW support person will respond on some of the other forum questions, but I have not seen a response here regarding this specific issue?  I think the original post was well written and describes what many of us are experiencing and you would think that VZW would resond in some way.

 

I've pounded them on twitter a couple of times with questions @vzwsupport.  The only one I received a response on was regarding these forums: "clear you cache and see if that works."  Did not solve the issue, but they did respond.

 

Cheers

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