You are probably thinking, “This man has come again.” The truth is that I never left. I have been harping on the benefits of being able to peg the network of a smartphone. I shall continue to. This time I am talking about the importance of being able to peg 4G network on a smartphone. Let me tell you a story of three smartphones and two 4G networks.
Cannot Peg 4G Network: Scene One
Last weekend, I put my MTN 4G SIM card in an Android smartphone that I was to review. As usual, I was all excited about playing with a new toy for the period of the review. Within moments, I had a network signal. I got 4G. Ah! All was good. But the bubble burst not too long after. Ask me what happened. Good.
After a while, the phone network switched to 3G. And then 2G. And then after a period of frustrating wait, it went back to 4G. But it didn’t stay there for long. I dived into the phone settings and found Network Settings. There, I discovered that the only options I had were auto network. In other words, the phone had no options to let me peg it to 2G only, 3G only, or 4G only. For the period of the review, I had to live with the dancing around of the network from 2G to 3G to 4G and back. Internet usage was anything but pleasant for the period.
This is what the network mode menu looks like for a phone that does not provide the option to peg to 4G network only:
If you pick 4G, it lets the phone switch between all three. If you select 3G, it lets the phone switch between 3G and 2G. If you select 2G, the device is pegged to 2G only.
Cannot Peg 4G Network: Scene Two
At the office yesterday, a Mobility Arena team member mentioned how he was not getting Etisalat 4G network there at the office. He had enjoyed 4G service all weekend at home and now, here at work where he really needed it, it was nowhere to be found. I checked the network settings menu of his phone and found out that the phone did not provide the option to peg network. So, we decided to see what was up. We removed his SIM card and put it into another phone that provided the option to peg. Then we pegged it to 4G only. Voila! Etisalat 4G appeared. It was just two bars, but it stayed and delivered good speeds.
Of course, we had to return his SIM to his 4G smartphone and he went without 4G service for the rest of the day. The sad thing is that Etisalat mobile internet is mostly unusable in 2G and 3G modes her eat the office, so he was unable to use his data subscription at all. If his phone could peg to 4G network, he would be having a ball.
Cannot Peg 4G Network: Scene Three
Yesterday, I finally got a Glo 4G SIM card. Because of Glo’s rare LTE band 28(700), the only smartphone at my disposal that could work on it was the Lumia 950. I wasn’t excited about the prospects, because I knew that the 950 did not offer 4G only pegging. The only network one can peg on it is 3G. Have a look:
The next best option was to set it to pick 4G as the highest connection speed. That means the phone will switch between 2G, 3G, and 4G depending on network conditions. I have had my Glo 4G SIM in the Lumia 950 since yesterday afternoon, but the damned phone has stayed locked on 2G (EDGE) all through till now. What the heck! Not even 3G. At least, keep me locked on 3G. Not freaking 2G.What am I going to do with 2G in 2016?
Three different 4G smartphones that did not allow the user to peg 4G network.
Ability To Peg Is Essential
The ability to peg the network that your phone latches to is essential if your smartphone is your primary data device and you require it for serious work. If not, don’t bother. If you use Wifi for most of your work, do ignore this article.
Thankfully, my primary smartphone provides the option to peg the network anyway I want – 2G only, 3G only, 4G only or auto. Here is what the network mode menu looks like:
When I need best performance, I peg it to 4G only and enjoy the experience.
No Calls When Pegged To 4G
This is important: whenever you peg your smartphone to 4G only, your line will be unreachable fr voice calls and SMS. 4G only is data only. To be able to receive calls, you either peg to 3G or 2G or leave the phone in auto network mode and let it switch as it wills.
Smartphones That Let You Peg 4G Network
Let’s start with phones that don’t. If you love pure Android OS and will use only smartphones that have that, you are out of luck. If you hate skinned Android phones, sorry. Stock Android does not include the option to peg. You can only select auto modes. The first screenshot in this article is from a smartphone that runs pure Android OS.
So, forget about seeing the options to peg network on Nexus, Motorola, Android One and other pure Android smartphones.
By default, Android manufacturers have to add the option to peg network. Modifying Android OS makes it possible. Some do it. Many don’t. I have handled smartphones by Lenovo, Huawei, Samsung, and Apple and can tell you authoritatively that they do not provide the feature to peg network.
Here are some smartphones that let users peg the network:
- TECNO: The ability to peg network mode is built into TECNO’s HiOS. It is now a standard feature.
- Infinix: Same goes for Infinix Mobility’s XOS.
- Lumia: this is a mixed bag. Some Lumias offer the option to peg network; others do not. Don’t ask me why. The engineers behind those phones throw dice or something to determine which phones get it and which do not.
But There Are Apps For That
If your smartphone does not let you peg 4G network, you can install a third party app to add that functionality. An example of such apps is Notification Toggle. There are several others in Google Play. do note that those apps are not 100% reliable. After some interval, the phone loses the pegged network and you have to keep pegging again and again each time that happens.
In my opinion, if 4G service is important to you, just buy a smartphone that lets you peg 4G network. Whichever way you choose to go though, I wish you all the best! May you never be stuck with unusable internet because you could not peg your smartphone’s network to 4G or even 3G.
PS: This dilemma is just as valid for 4G modems and mifi devices. They do not support all 4G LTE bands either. Plus, pegging to 4G network on those devices is often a pain in the neck too.