AT&T's problems with their 3G network now also seem to affect the data service (last week, data was working, but i could not make or receive calls). in the past few days, i got a lot of
Could not activate Cellular Data Network messages, which must be the 3G equivalent of the GSM message
Could not activate EDGE.
and since i cannot switch to GSM manually, these 3G problems are affecting my connectivity. i would be much happier if i could choose to fallback to the slower EDGE speeds and at least get a working data connection, instead of just getting a 3G error message.
safari and 3rd party applications often fail without any useful error message at all, not even giving useful information about the network problems. for example, safari often reports that
Safari could not open the page because the server stopped responding, but what that really means is that the data service is not working and therefore it is impossible to connect to the server.
i guess apple still has to work a bit more on how to make the most out of what's available in terms of connectivity. not being able to make phone calls or use data transfer only because of AT&T's 3G problems does not seem to be the best solution. it cannot be that hard to be a bit smarter and try the GSM network instead of just saying
Call Failed or
Could not activate Cellular Data Network.
[[ update September 5: RTFM. Settings → General → Network takes you to a place where you can switch off 3G. so it is possible to switch off 3G manually, which gives you slow EDGE speeds, but at least the phone is working. it would be much more convenient if the phone would be smart enough to try GSM automatically when a 3G service (voice or data) fails. ]]