I pick up a Lumia 610, or 800, or 920. These are well made devices, physically speaking. They look and feel good. I love the

Windows Phone Is Driving Me Crazy!

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Windows Phone 8

I pick up a Lumia 610, or 800, or 920. These are well made devices, physically speaking. They look and feel good. I love the Tiles (Dead or Live) on the home screen of these devices. Of course, Live is better. I love the fluid transitions, and how everything just flows. The Windows Phone user interface is simple and superb.

What Exactly Is Driving Me Crazy Then?

Using any of the above devices, or any other Windows Phone smartphone, whether it is running version 7, 7.5, 7.8 or 8, there is no option to fix the connection speed to 3G-only mode. I am left with the options of EDGE-only or auto-switching between EDGE and 3G. Here is the problem: on EVERY single WP smartphone that I have used, when in auto network mode, the OS tends to prefer 2G to 3G. The phones spend so much time on 2G and stray into a 3G signal once in a blue moon.


Imagine yourself trying to download a 4MB app from MarketPlace or to stream audio/video, and Windows Phone is comfortable locking you on EDGE. Frustrations unlimited! Simply put, as long as Windows Phone does not let me choose 3G-only mode, it is for the most part useless to me.

Meanwhile, on a Nokia 808 PureView running the late Belle OS, a Samsung Galaxy Note II running Android OS, or a BlackBerry 9320 running BlackBerry OS, fixing my mobile data connection to 3G-only is a small and easy feat. No hassles. So, I can enjoy good speeds whether I am merely tweeting, chatting, managing my LinkedIn connections, or downloading and streaming stuff.

Too bad that Windows Phone is like this, because while I love the UI, this limitation keeps making it difficult for me to get internet-connected tasks done hassle-free. As a matter of fact, it is driving me crazy. As such, I am giving up on Windows Phone till this issue is addressed. Of course, I am not the only one with this resolve. People keep telling me that they will not get a Windows Phone because of this issue alone. An option for 3G-only mode cannot be too hard for you to implement. No; it cannot be.


  1. It’s a big limitation.
    Actually stock android has the same limitation, the difference being that it seems to prefer 3G.

  2. I have used a number of OS from the blackberry OS to the IOS now am currently running on the android OS. Before moving to the android, I tried one of the nokia luminas, and the experience wasn’t fun at all… Am sorry to say, I don’t think they would last as long as they thought.
    It was hard using the video, while it sank my contact with FB, and the integration was giving issues.

    I just concluded that the phone is good to make calls and text messages… And not to be considered as a smartphone.

    Its not user friendly!

    I might be wrong, but then, its my own opinion.

  3. @austine, are you sure about that on stock Android? I have used stock Android and never limited in choosing any of the network modes.

    This is a deal breaker especially for these of us in third world countries where networks are highly unstable. It’s enough reason for my not to get a WP . Will have to advise those I know planning on getting it. So that they don’t become frustrated like Mr Mo.

  4. I know what it is like. I’ve been restricted to only EDGE connection on the Airtel networks for the past three days and the real headache is that the EDGE connection itself is not even stable. The 3G signal just disappeared and when I manager to sight it, it is simply to weak to support data transactions, maximum of two bars that will soon recede to zero bar if I try connecting using 3G. This is the first time I’ve stayed without 3G connection on the Airtel networks for up to eight consecutive hours since switching to Airtel for my data needs for some six months now. It is very frustrating indeed.

    Actually stock android has the same limitation, the difference being that it seems to prefer 3G.

    I’m not so sure about that claim. All the LG, Samsung and Sony (Ericsson) Android phones I’ve tried have this feature and where this is not even the case, overcoming the problem on Android devices is relatively easy. There is a code for that – *#*#4636#*#*. Also, there are numerous apps that can help you overcome the hurdle on Android. I just hope similar approaches exist to tackle the problem on Windows Phone devices.

  5. well, that’s to be expected from Microsoft, they never seen to get anything right. my brother recently nought a lumia 800 inspite of my warnings, and today he’s having a helluva of a time syncing his songs with zune (he complains that some songs are removed with each sync). If he hears about this one too am sure it have him pulling hairs of his head as he’s complaints about how his bold4 doesn’t let him choose 3G only .

  6. This is why I believe operating systems like Windows Phone is not designed for developing countries. I’m inclined to believe the limitation is because the designers didn’t envision people doing things on their phone like watching YouTube or downloading apart from WiFi. I doubt any one of their Lumia phones were tested in conditions like those similar to what is found in Nigeria.

    With WiFi the limitations are negligible, but being solely reliany on mobile Internet (add to that erratic/poor signal) and the weakness shows.

    As for me I have little to lose – my signal is erratic regardless of where I am, 3G? I laugh in Mega upload.

  7. I’ve used different XDA custom ROMs on my galaxy tab and want they have are 2G only or 2G/3G. Presently I’m using 4.2.1 mod by Co-M. In its setting for mobile networks there’s only an option to tick “Use 2G only”. I wish I can paste screen shots. The same applies to all Chisom ROMs I’ve installed on it.

    However, with Samsung firmware the situation is different, as the option to choose either one or a combination of both are there.

  8. Do we really have 3G in Nigeria? Each time my BB display 3G its speed is laughable to what I know 3G to be…maybe, that should be a topic for another day.

  9. I use a Lumia 900 running the Mango 7.5, and from experience the ability to chose a 3G mode only or edge mode only is enabled.

    I feel it’s the windows phone 8 version that has such limitation. Microsoft needs to sort that out and give her users some level of freedom

  10. Ummmm, I have an HTC 8x and it lets me switch freely between 2G, 3G or LTE from the network settings menu. I’m thinking its either a carrier limitation or else a function specific to Nokia, but it ain’t the platform as a whole.

  11. Thanks to the feedback from Jmaine and Julian, we have some new perspective to this.

    The HTC HD7 and 7 Mozart (both WP7) that I owned didn’t have 3G-only Mode. The Lumia 610 (WP7) that is lying around here does not. The Lumia 920 (running WP8) does not.

    But the Lumia 900 (WP7) and the HTC 8X (WP8) do? This suggests that it is either not a hard-baked OS limitation, or that manufacturers are able to add the feature as they seem fit.

    You know what I am thinking? No; because I don’t know what to think anymore. Why will Nokia enable it on the 900 and not on the 920? Sigh.

  12. @John Onwuegbu

    We might not have true 4G in Nigeria but we have true 3G.

    The problem is one must also be sure that the device you are using is capable of enjoying the speed.

    3G and 3.5G is really good on my PureView when at home or office

  13. My brother just confirmed to me that its possible to chose 2g or 3g only on Lumia 710.

    Now I dont understand again.

    But I feel Nokia removed it from their WP8 devices.

  14. I really do love the tiles on the WP8; I adopted same for months on my Android device and that got me thinking about getting a Windows phone. However this ‘3G’ thingy is discouraging…slow network speeds really make a smartphone dumb #justsaying

  15. I have discovered where the setting to make stock android (Jellybean 4.2.1) use only 3G. It is deeply embedded and can be found under
    Quick Setting Panel
    Network modes

  16. I have discovered where
    the setting to make stock
    android (Jellybean 4.2.1)
    use only 3G. It is deeply
    embedded and can be found under
    Quick Setting Panel
    Network modes

    Rather than digging around like Sherlock Holmes for arcane Android settings, one could use a third party app like Elixir 2 or 1Tap Quick Bar to give one_tap access to practically all available (System) settings.

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