UPDATE 01/05 – Sprint released EK02 which, while it doesn’t completely resolve LOS for all, seems to reduce the frequency. If you received LOS a lot, then you should see a dramatic decrease. If you rarely received LOS, then you should not see one again. The issue revolves around the modem not being able to recover from when it attempts to contact the tower and for some reason it takes longer than expected – so it shuts down and is not able to come out of that shutdown state (some call it a deep sleep). There have been numerous leaked updates from Samsung (EL13, EL26, EL29) but nothing official from Sprint as of yet.
Sprint released the Samsung Galaxy S2 Epic 4G Touch back in September – and almost immediately users started seeing radio-related issues that seem to plague Samsung CDMA devices (Moment, Epic, Nexus S 4G, etc.) – namely low signal strength and data speeds in areas that comparable Sprint phones have excellent signal strength and better data speeds.
But what has really been a sore spot for the many customers who went with this flagship device on the US’ 3rd-largest carrier is the Loss-of-Service (LOS) bug. Your device will be working and then all of a sudden it’ll lose signal and display a circle with a diagonal line through it in stead of the signal strength bars. The only way to get rid of it is to reboot the device. The real kicker here, is that the only way you’ll know you’ve lost service is if you happen to check your phone to wonder why you haven’t been getting any phone calls, etc. The only moderately saving grace here is that the phone reboots in less than 30 seconds.
And don’t be fooled by Sprint’s scripted reply of, “Well you must have rooted your device and voided your warranty!” This issues happens regardless of if you are on stock or custom. Some custom kernels have been shown to actually reduce the frequency of LOS. For some they got an LOS almost immediately after getting the device and not doing anything custom, while others actually have only had 1 in 2 months.
When I first started seeing the issue on my device I reached out to contacts at Sprint on September 20 and they had not heard anything and so I provided them with some dmesg and logcat information. After nothing happening, on September 23 I posted/started this conversation on Sprint’s Community message board. It has already amassed over 86,000 views and over 500 replies of people experiencing the same issues.
Sprint on the other hand has yet to officially announce that they have an issue; they continue to sell the phone; and their “Customer Service” reps claim to have no knowledge of the issue. Shane_M, a Sprint tech assigned to the issue has stated that they are aware and acknowledge the issue and that a fix is being investigated and will be rolled into an upcoming Maintenance Release. However, this is the only “official” word Sprint has given.
Many suspect that this is due to the recent iPhone 4s launch on Sprint and they are more interested in dealing with and supporting iPhone users than other users. Others point to Samsung’s history of not being able to deliver fixes to CDMA devices like the Moment, Epic 4G and the Nexus S – even taking over 6 months to roll out Froyo to the Epic 4G after numerous delays, and then another 8 months to roll out Gingerbread. (edited after Shane_M from Sprint provided accurate information). And let’s not even go into the failed experiment the Moment ultimately ended up being as it’s data lockup issues was acknowledged but never resolved.
Regardless, the lack of communication from Sprint is telling and should be a call for the community affected by this issue to stand up, tweet, call in to Customer Support, post about it, etc. It’s been two months since the device has rolled out – and still nothing.
On the custom development side, XDA Recognized Developer -viperboy- has put together an application called LOS Checker that will check your signal status, and if you are in LOS it will automatically reboot your device without you having to do anything – thus avoiding your device sitting in an LOS state for hours at a time, missing many important phone calls, emails, etc.
As more information comes available I will be updating this post.
UPDATE 11/30 – Sprint has been working on the update, and recently used an XDA user was given a chance to test the update. While some improvements have been noted, the LOS still exists for some users. Until an official update comes though, it’s the best we have.
Custom Script: -viperboy- LOS Checker
Sprint Community post: http://community.sprint.com/baw/thread/76962?tstart=0