Verizon IPhone Drops Calls, Not Endorsed by Consumer Reports

The Apple Inc. iPhone 4 carried by Verizon Wireless suffers from a glitch -- similar to one that plagues AT&T Inc.’s version -- that may result in dropped calls in certain areas, Consumer Reports said.

After testing the phone, which was released this month, Consumer Reports said it won’t include the device on its list of recommended smartphones.

“The Verizon iPhone 4 closely resembles the original AT&T iPhone 4 in many positive respects, including offering great multimedia functionality, a sharp screen, and the best MP3 player we’ve seen on a phone,” Consumer Reports, published by Yonkers, New York-based Consumers Union, said on its website. “Unfortunately, it also shares with its sibling the possibility of compromised performance in low-signal conditions when used without a bumper or case.”

The iPhone, which first hit stores in 2007, has become Apple’s best-selling product. It accounted for 39 percent of $26.7 billion in total sales in the most recent quarter. Calls may be dropped when the phone is gripped a way that affects the phone’s signal strength, the group said.

Consumer Reports also said the device “performs superbly” in most respects and that using a case can fix the signal.

Consumer Reports similarly didn’t recommend the iPhone 4 when it was released for AT&T last year, citing an antenna design flaw that led to dropped calls. Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs apologized and offered customers free cases to help fix the problem with the AT&T phones.

Thin Design

“IPhone 4 has a great antenna that allows it to have an amazingly thin design, great battery life and reception,” said Natalie Kerris, a spokeswoman for Apple. “We designed the iPhone 4 external antenna to work great on Verizon’s network.”

Verizon Wireless said less than 0.5 percent of iPhone 4 call attempts fail or are ineffective in major cities, including New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington. That’s on par with the performance of other smartphones on its network, said Marquett Smith, a spokesman for Verizon Wireless. The company isn’t recommending that subscribers use bumpers.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, rose $5.28, or 1.5 percent, to close at $348.16 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares have climbed 72 percent in 12 months.

To contact the reporters on this story: Adam Satariano in San Francisco at asatariano1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net;

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