HTC ThunderBolt having 4G connection issues

HTC ThunderBolt having 4G connection issues
We've been using the HTC ThunderBolt for a little over three weeks now, and even though it has a lot to offer....not everything has been roses. As we mentioned in our review, the first unit we recieved had a defective earpiece speaker that made a buzzing/rattling sound, which was replaced with a new unit. This solved the issue (mostly) as long as the volume isn't turned up too high.

Since then, we've mostly used the data part of the ThunderBolt, and under heavy use we are having to charge the phone every 4-6 hours. Otherwise if it just in standby mode without much use, we can get about 18-20 hours on a charge. Some people have reported that their units are overheating, though our demo unit has not experienced this.

But there is one problem that we've been having on-and-off, and it appears we're not alone. For some (unknown) reason, the ThunderBolt will cycle from using 4G LTE, to 3G, to 1x (as shown on the top of the display) and then eventually go back to 4G LTE.  We've seen this happen with the phone just sitting on our desk, at our friend's house, or if we are out driving. This started about a week after our review, and has continued since then. We've looked some on-line forums, and found a few posts from other people on the Verizon Wireless Community forums (here, here, and here), and also on the HTC Forums (here and here) that are having similar problems.

What's interesting is that some people, who use their phone in a 4G area, are having the same issue as us, with it not staying on 4G, and cycling to 3G and 1x. But for people who only use their phone in a 3G area, it is having problems staying on 3G and sometimes changes to 1x.

One fix that we have tried is to launch the phone's dialer and type in *#*#4636#*#* and select Phone Information. At the bottom it will have "CDMA + LTE EVDO auto" by default. If you change it to "LTE mode" the phone should stay fixed more on 4G. We have tried this and have noticed that it stays on 4G most of the time, though will occasionally change to 3G and then back to 4G, but far less frequently than it did before. If you only use the ThunderBolt in a 3G area, then you could change it to "CDMA auto PRL" as that should keep it locked on 3G more and lessen the amount of times to changes to 1x.

If you have a ThunderBolt and use it in a 4G area and have seen it change to 3G and 1x (while in the 4G area), please let us know in the comment section below. The same thing goes for people who use the ThunderBolt in a 3G area and have seen it change to 1x.

We have reached out to Verizon Wireless about the connection issue, and were told they would look into it and get back to us. We will update you if we learn anything new.

*UPDATE*
Since we posted this article a few days ago, we've read through the user comments, and some have suggested doing a full factory hard-reset to fix the 4G connection issues. We did the hard-reset on our unit, and unfortunately it did not resolve the problem, as it still continues to cycle through 4G/3G/1x with it set to the "CDMA + LTE EVDO auto" as we mentioned above. But once again if we change it to the "LTE mode" it stays on 4G most of the time, though on Sunday we did see it change to 1x....for no reason.

We hope that Verizon and HTC are working on a solution, as it appears by your comments that we are not alone with the 4G connection issue.

Related phones

ThunderBolt
  • Display 4.3 inches
    800 x 480 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP (Single camera)
    1.3 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon S2, 0.75GB RAM
  • Storage 8GB, microSDHC
  • Battery 1400 mAh
  • OS Android 4.0

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79 Comments

83. Colooch unregistered

We recently started getting 4G in my area. My phone is usually on 4G but occasionally does the 3G, 1x thing. Sooo annoying. I just tried your suggestion with the *#*#4636#*#* and it seems much better. I bought the extended battery. Love it. I just need a good case now. Any suggestions?

82. rzaxizetauno

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 25, 2011

My thunderbolt started for the first couple of weeks in 4g but recently has gone to 3g and stayed there. Does anyone have the same issue? I am in a 4g area

81. DC unregistered

having similiar problems: My wife and I got new TBs about a 45 days ago. We live in Tampa, FL, which has extensive 4G coverage. We both installed MR1, but only I installed MR2. Since then, I rarely, if ever, get a 4G connection and many times, the 3G connection goes away leaving me with nothing. The frustration is compounded by my wife's phone maintaining a good 4G connection throughout. So...I finally decided to try stuff yesterday: 1) Factory reset the phone...no change, so I took it to the VZW store 2) They gave me a new sim card...reset the sim connection...the 4G came on but only after 3 minutes of connection time, which the VZW guy said was not normal. Throughout the rest of the day, the 4G gave way to the 3G which gave way to either 1X or nothing. 3) I've pulled the battery and sim card again for 5 minutes, re-installed, and got the same poor data connection issues. 4) I've tried the "turn on airplane mode/turn off the airplane mode" fix, but no joy. The guy at the VZW store was very willing to order me a new phone. The logistics are such tho that I would have to wait a bit for a new phone anyway (I'm Active Duty Air Force, about to move to Montgomery, AL next week). He indicated that a new "software fix to the software fix" would be coming soon, so if wanted I could just wait for that and see if it helps. Anyone have a thought or idea? I want to love this phone!

80. shouldveIphonedit unregistered

ive also had issues with 4g/3g/1x switching and now nothing but the bullseye. 90% of the time i cant get any internet and im in a 4g area. wifi works ok. verizon is sending me a 3rd phone currently and apparently nobody on the tech teams no what to do but delete apps that are questionable and reset the phone. im getting a new sim card with the new phone. battery issue is an easy fix. found a 3500 mAh available on ebay. came with 2 batteries 2 back covers and a wall charger. a little bulky but far worth it. dont miss having the battery being charged 3 times a day.

79. RussianBear unregistered

Have phone for a month now and was having excellent connection all the time but all of a sudden starting yesterday night my phone no longer uses 4g connection and keeps cycling through 3g and 1x

78. JR unregistered

Same issues here. Been in touch with tech support for two weeks and they don't know what's going on. They gave me a new phone and SIM card and the issue still remains. Verizon said not to manually change the connection type as it may void warranty...but what options do I have?!?!?!?

77. xXIrishCowboyXx unregistered

I'm experiencing something just like that all the time. What is worse is when I have to reset my phone to get 4G LTE in the area. It only lasts a minute or so. Could that be due to Verizon putting put another tower?

76. johnnyg unregistered

I've had the HTC TB for almost 3 months. It has done some toggling back and forth every now and then all during that time. Yesterday it went from 4g to 1x and stayed there through today. Not a happy camper!

75. BigBlueBill32

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 02, 2011

There is a free app, LTE on/off, that lets you switch between 4Gand 3g and LTE only plus other network settings without having to go through *#*#...process. Go to market ,click on free apps, search for LTE on off and download, This should help with cycling,

74. BigBlueBill32

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 02, 2011

I purchased the Thunderbolt May 25, 2011 and 4g connection issues have been a problem. For days the phone would stay on 1x even though I was in NYC and NJ, which are both 4g areas. As a result, the battery would drain in hours and downloading was nearly impossible or very slow. After contacting Verizon customer service and being referred to a tech specialist and spending 1 1/2 hours with them, which included doing a factory reset, the issue continued. The specialist told me to return the phone for an exchange. For individuals who have problems with their new Thunderbolts the specialist stated that Verizon requires you to go through this process before they will exchange the phone for replacement. I will update once a replacement is received.

73. phssthpok unregistered

Odd but Motorola Droid X users have been reporting the same thing ever since it was released on the Motorola boards.

72. Chippy20 unregistered

I have had problems with both in 3G area and 4G LTE area, however, I have been told that Verizon is working on an update to this problem that should fix it. Unfortunately I am not sure when the update will be administered

71. Daniel Reinman unregistered

I am commonly having similar issues. However, my thunderbolt often loses all connection...in a city covered with 4G service. A coworker of mine is having the same problem.

69. scottyb332 unregistered

I too am having this problem. Called Verizon who said it was HTC's baby and it would be fixed in an update provided by HTC. HTC recognizes the issue but would not say it would be fixed in an update. Is this the runaround? Anyway... Forget doing anything that requires a stable connection. Don't do anything too important or you'll just end up frustrated. I feel like I've been duped and I'm not happy about it. I was planning on getting rid of my broadband connection and using my phone's 4G to connect for work. Not going to happen... so not only am I now paying for a useless data connection, I'm still paying for my broadband. And noone is willing to monetarily relieve my issues. Thanks Verizon and HTC. I got a bumb product and I'm stuck paying for it for 2 years. could be worse I suppose... like the phone electrocuting me everytime I answered a call.

68. batch unregistered

My TB will cycle through all 3 (4g LTE, 3g 1x) then nothing and I will have no data connection for hours. I am in Secaucus NJ. A restart helps for a bit but then same thing.

66. lilandy456 unregistered

I don't know if this will help anyone, but it helped relieve at least some of the frustration with my Thunderbolt. Like many others, my TB was toggling from 4G LTE to 3G and even down to 1X, which pissed me off like no other considering the fact that I live a 4 G covered area. Dial *#*#4636#*#* and hit phone information, and change your preferred network type to EvDo (like someone else already said). But then hit menu, and then hit enable data connection. It should at least give you a 3G data connection, which I don't have a problem with because the 3G is amazing as it is. This might not be what everyone is necessarily looking for, but it will help tide my data hunger until HTC or Verizon addresses this problem and fixes it.

67. lilandy456 unregistered

I suppose I should have added that when I tried your suggested LTE mode, it didn't do jack, so I did this instead.

70. scottyb332 unregistered

I performed the steps you described here, and I've been using it for about 8-10 minutes. It does actually seem to work better. I am in the middle of a supposed 4G area and I'd lose connectivity every minute and a half or so. At this point, I'm stuck in solid 3G and I haven't lost it throughout the entire 10 minutes.... playing an HD video from the web, and no skipping at all. Thanks for posting.

65. Juan unregistered

I live in Chicago and my Thunderbolt was working fine since I purchased 5 days ago until yesterday, my conection from 4g drop to 1 x without reason, now I dont have any idea what to do its driving me crazy!!

64. Daine714 unregistered

My thunderbolt is acting up.. I cant stay on 4 G in Any Area in Orange County, Ca Always dropping to 3G or most of the Time stuck on 1X..WTH am I paying for the service if I cant use the service?! I read several forums and blog regarding this problem and and they all say there is a fix coming.. There Tech support as well are fumbling about how to correct the problem and when the fix is coming.. 4g service Verizon ??what a joke.. It worked fine for about 3 weeks out of the 8 weeks i have had the Phone so far...how and when will this problem be fixed finally anyone??

63. 4star unregistered

I live in Arlington VA, a 4G area. I have had the phone for about 4 weeks. It cycles to 1x frequently in my home. Usually it stays at 4G, but then randomly pops up to 1x. The only thing that I have found to correct this is removing the battery and restarting. (which is a pain since I have to take off the protective case and back cover to do it). If I just turn off and on, or hit restart nothing happens, it stays in 1x. I did change my setting to LTE only today as the article suggests but it stayed on 1x.

62. eorourke unregistered

Verizon and HTC are aware of the issues with the Thunderbolt and are working on an OTA - which is coming soon. Although no official date has been set, the official RUU is said to have been leaked online. Read more here: http://eugeneorourke.com/go/1568

61. cdiaz unregistered

I have the same problem, called verizon about 5 times alredy and the last thing i did was a factory reset but that didn't work, I really hope they fix this and the battery issue cause other than that the phone is awsome, when it works.....

60. zenith unregistered

Had the thunderbolt for a few days now. In 3g or LTE areas, it will drop down to 1x or lose the mobile signal entirely and not return. So far I've just been restarting the phone to bring the signal back up.

58. mondrejko unregistered

I'm glad people are having the same issue as me. I live in pittsburgh and have had the thunderbold for about two weeks. i had no problems at all the first week and was loving the super fast LTE network. However a few days ago I started to have the same proble you stated above. It would randomly go into 1x mode in areas that I usually had full bars of LTE. I had to reset my phone a few times to get it to teconnect to the LTE network.

57. mr. droid

Posts: 278; Member since: Aug 21, 2010

I will certainly be keeping an eye on this. I am having trouble with my back up assistant through verizon, AND after getting the phone this past Friday, after having it four days, I am having some issues sending and receiving text messages from time to time. what will happen is I wont get any messages in and when i send one, it just sits there with the wheel-looking thing spinning for up to ten minutes until I finally power cycle the phone. Not sure what the deal is with that. should have got a droid2 or fascinate or something like that.

55. Sweeny unregistered

Um, this phone has been the most rock solid phone to date. You iphone trolls need to stay in your own forums, enough is enough. My wife has my old iPhone 4 which is great at what it does. But it looks silly next to what I can do with my TB. My phone cycles beautifully from 4g to 3g to 1xrtt. I travel all the time. Battery life on 4g is nothing short of bad. This is my only complaint about it. But with a new kernel and switching to 3g when I don't need 4g has given me a full day and then some and that's running overclocked at 1.41 Ghz. BTW I bought 3 extra batteries and a charger on ebay for $15 so it is a non issue anyway any more. I do not loose 4g signal at all when I'm in the entire Tampa Bay area where I live minus going into steel buildings, where 3g takes its place. It is the first LTE device and Verizon is still working it out. But those of you who are trashing verizon, what are your 4G speeds? Maybe a 1/3 of mine? Oh and for At&T customers how do you like paying per GB?

51. jd829

Posts: 155; Member since: Feb 24, 2010

Maybe you're all just holding the phone wrong

50. JenBen unregistered

I live in Phoenix and have had the same 4G/3G bouncing. When 4G works, it's crazy-fast, so I don't mind. If it were a data card, though, I'd be pretty frustrated.

59. PAJARA unregistered

I live in phonix too, The 4G is super fast, I've had the phone since day 1 of the release date and did not have any issues with connectivity but recently I have been having the issue with the 4G cycling and then losing connection. I go to settings and rather than turning off and on the phone I just uncheck the data connection option and check in again to refresh the connection. This fixes my problem but it is not something I want to do everytime I have a connection issue which seems to happen at least twice a day. By the way my cycling of 4g happens when I am in a location and not actually moving around or traveling.

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