My wife and I both own iPhones 5C, latest and greatest version of iOS (10.3.2). When we're at home, we've found recently that these are unusable for the purpose of making / receiving normal phone calls as the reception just keeps jipping out and breaking up, so you can only hear every other word or so spoken by the person at the other end. Typically, the problem gets worse through the duration of the call and you frequently end up getting cut off.
My wife seems convinced that it's the phones themselves but:
1) Both her and my phones are affected when in and around the home
2) She has tried another iPhone 5c that she bought (on the basis that she could return it if the problem persisted) - the problem remained
3) She has obtained another SIM from the mobile provider (Virgin Mobile) - same problem
4) When out of the house and particularly when out of the village, the problem largely goes away
I think the problem is environmental, that is there is either poor "line-of-sight" to the mast receiving our phone's signals, or something is causing interference.
It is only the mobile signal that is affected .... the Internet is available on our phones at home via our own wi-fi, and this appears unaffected by this problem. So we're not experiencing a weakening of the wi-fi signal at all.
The problem seemed to start - or massively ramp up - when we had a smart meter fitted by our energy company about a couple of months ago.
I've Googled this to death and:
1) The problem is NOT wi-fi. There seem to be a lot of forum questions out there pertaining to people getting weakened signals for their wi-fi after having had a smart meter fitted
2) It seems to affect JUST the mobile signal - I can set it to use 3G or 4G (or even 2G) - same problem every time
3) Facetime (which uses the wi-fi), seems to work perfectly OK (this is another way I can tell that the wi-fi does not seem to be the problem).
The only thing I can think of is that the ZigBee signal from the smart meter is so strong that it's "bleeding" on other, weaker signals. And that the frequency is close to that used by the phones. Even though the signal protocols will be very different, a strong signal could "bleed" over a weaker signal and drown it out. I presume this is still possible?
The energy company (nPower) is taking this fairly seriously and are coming out to decommission the smart meter - we'll see if the problem persists after that's been turned off.
Does anyone have any other ideas as to what the problem could be and what a like;y solution could be?