iPhone Feature Exclusive to New Bell Network: the Wormhole

Astrophysicists have been attempting to discover a means of traversing great distances in little or no time for decades. It’s the key to long-distance space travel. You know: hyperspace, time warp, wormholes, all that stuff?

Well, it seems Bell has figured it out. Check out this screen shot from my iPhone this morning, and consider that I was in Whitehorse at the time:

My Whitehorse iPhone in Edmonton

My Whitehorse iPhone in Edmonton

See that? My iPhone can be in two places at once: Whitehorse and Edmonton. Try that NASA!

Of course, it’s not a wormhole, it’s a bug in the new network. I’ve checked it out on two local iPhones and they both locate themselves in Edmonton.

The iPhone’s location-awareness capability is powered by a combination of cell tower location, Wifi-stations, and GPS. Unfortunately, it seems that the Whitehorse cell tower has been set up as an Edmonton cell tower and it’s leading local devices to believe likewise.

It doesn’t seem like such a big deal at first except a couple of other things auto-configure to Edmonton, too: the time zone and the calendar. Which totally screwed me up for a couple of meetings today.

And, of course, don’t go using the Find my iPhone feature locally until Bell sorts this problem out. Here’s where my iPhone is, according to the MobileMe service:

iPhone noir in Edmonton

A similar thing happened a few years back when Bell first set up the 1X CDMA network. For the first few weeks of that network’s life, a lot of local phones thought they were in Ontario. Looks like a misconfiguration redux with the new HSPA network.

One can only hope, though, that Bell isn’t considering calls made on local devices as having originated in Edmonton. Or else a lot of people around here are gonna get real angry real quick when their bills roll in.

Working around the network misconfiguration is pretty easy on the iPhone, though you have to give up some features. I’ll post details tomorrow.