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New BlackBerry suffering same 3G connection drops as iPhone

Cellular access woes initially pinned on the iPhone 3G's particular hardware now appear likely to be thwarting the BlackBerry Bold's debut with AT&T, according to a new report .

Citigroup investment research analyst Jim Suva's early testing of the Bold, which uses the same 3G network standard as current iPhones, finds the device with just as unstable a connection as that reported in the US and elsewhere for Apple's handset, with data sometimes dropping to the slower EDGE network or even cutting out entirely.

"We had a few occasional 3G signal dropping troubles at some locations," Suva writes, "especially on high-rises building streets on our 34th floor... which may be why AT&T has yet to launch the product."

And while Rogers Wireless in Canada has already launched Research in Motion's new smartphone, the researcher suggests that an American launch may hinge on either a patch for the Bold's firmware or straightening out network issues with AT&T, which will be the phone's sole carrier in the US.

Tellingly, the Bold uses a component of its Marvell processor as its 3G modem where iPhone 3G uses a separate Infineon chipset, ruling out identical hardware as the issue.

AT&T has yet to commit to an actual release date for the new BlackBerry despite announcing its plans in May, but hasn't publicly explained the delay.

The interpretation isn't a comprehensive study but comes just as Wired has finished an international study which points to US-based iPhone owners as suffering the largest number of failed data speed tests, particularly in dense urban areas where 3G towers are more likely to be overwhelmed.