Coming from technical support: Here is how you fix the network problem. Look around and find someone who is carrying a cell phone. Throw the useless block of wood and knock the person unconscious. Before the person awakes, quickly make your phone call. The call is easy and is free... FAQ: What if the cell phone has a keypad lock on it? A: Find someone who is using his/her cell phone at the moment and repeat the same steps.
So much Apple-bashing, yet Steve rightly pointed out that problem of how the thing is held affecting signal strength is not limited to the latest iPhone, since other smartphones use the same antenna design. Of course, I personally would rather have a block of wood than *any* cell toy, but to each his own.