For some months now, I’ve learned to cope with my Huawei Honor 6 Plus switching from EDGE to WCDMA once in a while. It’s not a regular thing so I’ve never given it much thought.
Over the last few days, I was in a location where the network reception was so bad my phone was switching from 3G to 2G like every now and then. There are times when the only way to stabilize your reception is by sticking with just WCDMA only but there’s no way to force 3G in the settings like you have it on some Android devices:
While it sounds great being able to access three networks for call and texts, 2G is practically useless for data:
Most of the times we are forced to either switch to a stronger network or better still get a different phone to get better results which is very disturbing since not everyone can afford a good phone with a good network connection that can attain 4G LTE.
The above was a ping test in Kilcar, a town that was without 3G on any network. I would love to have run a speed test, but have been unsuccessful in getting a single test to complete!
If I’m in trying to use Internet radio on the move or browsing the web on the bus, the phone will spend most of its time national roaming on Vodafone or O2, particularly in areas where their coverage is stronger than 3G such as between Killybegs and Donegal town. A full 2G signal is no match for even a weak 1 bar 3G signal.
One nice secret feature with most Android phones is they have a hidden menu to select specific network types. For example, the OnePlus can be set to use WCDMA (3G) only, LTE (4G) only or even both, effectively preventing the phone from using 2G, even in areas without 3G or 4G coverage. On other phones, you should have a “3G only” option here. I think there’s an app to do this at the Play Store but I personally don’t like installing apps for what I can manually achieve. If yours is just like this, you can use either of this codes to enter the info menu:
To bring up the hidden menu, dial any of the following codes:
Both codes doesn’t work on all phones. The first code worked on a Tecno Phantom Z and the second one didn’t. On my Huawei honor 6 Plus, the second code worked but the first didn’t.
Using the first option:
Type *#*#4636#*#* using your dialer and you should be presented with a menu.
If you see a ‘Select radio band’ menu, do not touch it! On some phones, changing this setting will irreversibly limit the phone to the selected radio band until the proper radio firmware is flashed, which may be impossible if there is no radio firmware available. For example, some phones such as various Blackberry and Sony models, this menu will present one option “USA Band”, which if selected will render the phone useless outside of the USA as this setting can only be reversed by flashing the radio firmware.
Touch “Phone information”, then scroll down to where it says “Set preferred network type:”
Look through the options for ‘WCDMA only’ or ‘LTE/WCDMA’ (if available):
Don’t choose ‘LTE only’ unless using a dual SIM phone with a separate SIM for calls/texts as it may block the ability to make & receive calls. This option might be useful to check for such coverage or if is necessary to use 4G for a large file transfers. Note that Three uses 800MHz (LTE band 20) for 4G in some areas which is not supported by the OnePlus One and some other phones.
As far as I’m aware of, Three does not support voice calls on its 4G network yet, which means the phone needs to drop to 3G when a call is received or made. If the phone is currently on a 2G network, it will show no signal for about a minute until it connects to 3G (H or H+) or 4G (LTE).
After selecting, the option, go back and it’s all done. It’s as easy as that.
Using the second option:
If the the first code isn’t working, you can always try the second one.
- Type *#*#2846579#*#* using your dialer and you should be presented with a menu. Select ProjectMenu.
- From here, go to Network Setting, then Network Mode.
- Select 3G only and confirm your selecting.
With this done, the phone should always stay on 3G. You should note that your won’t get any network signal in an area with no 3G service at all.