yep im having this same issue exactly as described. brand new Elite in Hartford CT.
full bars or one missing at most. when it flickers and changes from 3g to 2g data dies completely for about 30 seconds. very annoying.
im wondering if i should try and swap it for another Elite that hopefully isnt affected, or getting another phone altogether.
its a shame. its a nice phone otherwise, and a steal at $50, but this data issue is quite annoying.