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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Default Nexus 5: Reception Problem on AT&T, 2G Area

    I got my N5 from the Play Store and the SIM from AT&T. There are no problems with either LTE or HSPA+ (3G) reception.

    But when I go to an area marked on the AT&T coverage map as 2G, I get no signal at all. Also, I never see anything but "LTE" or "H" in the notification bar. I expect to see "1X" in that place if I have only a 2G signal. Does that means that the phone never picks up a 2G signal?

    Here are a couple ways I've thought of to fix this:

    1) Replace the SIM -- are all AT&T SIMs the same or could I have one that won't let me pick up 2G?

    2) Fiddle with the APN settings. I could create a new APN profile (without tampering with the two existing ones)... switching back if it doesn't work. I've done some reading about this but still feel as if I'm stumbling in the dark.

    I really hope that the problem isn't the N5's hardware -- I really like the N5 but I need a phone that works in these 2G areas.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. #2  

    Default Re: Nexus 5: Reception Problem on AT&T, 2G Area

    i can't really answer your question but i can tell you that i've had my att account for around 7 years and i've never had more than 2-3 bars in my house. depending on my location, it can go down to 0-1 as well.

    now, with the n5, i still get 2-3 bars but it's consistent throughout my house and my download speed has improved vastly. my previous phone would down anywhere from .5-2 mbps. now with my n5, it's downloading at 3-5mbps.

    funny thing is, when i'm home, i dont see "LTE" on my n5, i see the "H". but on my 920, it displayed "LTE" with the 2-3 bars but it was slow as a turd. weird.
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  3. #3  
    luke31's Avatar

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    Default Re: Nexus 5: Reception Problem on AT&T, 2G Area

    Same exact thing happened to me, but on T-Mobile. In areas where I was supposed to be getting 2G coverage easy, the phone was out of signal and in "Emergency Call Only" mode. When I tried to set the preferred network type to 2G, it never got signal. Not once. It was a hardware defect. Side by side, the store unit was able to connect to 2G, and mine wasn't. Today was the last day of my return window. I ended up returning the Nexus 5 and buying the Xperia Z1s. I just heard and read about too many horror stories concerning the Nexus 5's signal capabilities. Hopefully, the Nexus 6 will be more solid in that aspect. But, first and foremost, I needed a phone that could serve the essential function of a phone, and not spend 50-75% of the time in "Emergency Calls Only" mode.

    I did replace my SIM as well, it was the first thing I tried. That did nothing.
    Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (2nd Generation)
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  4. Thread Author  Thread Author    #4  

    Default Re: Nexus 5: Reception Problem on AT&T, 2G Area

    Quote Originally Posted by luke31 View Post
    Same exact thing happened to me, but on T-Mobile. In areas where I was supposed to be getting 2G coverage easy, the phone was out of signal and in "Emergency Call Only" mode. When I tried to set the preferred network type to 2G, it never got signal. Not once. It was a hardware defect. Side by side, the store unit was able to connect to 2G, and mine wasn't. Today was the last day of my return window. I ended up returning the Nexus 5 and buying the Xperia Z1s. I just heard and read about too many horror stories concerning the Nexus 5's signal capabilities. Hopefully, the Nexus 6 will be more solid in that aspect. But, first and foremost, I needed a phone that could serve the essential function of a phone, and not spend 50-75% of the time in "Emergency Calls Only" mode.

    I did replace my SIM as well, it was the first thing I tried. That did nothing.
    I think my problem is different in that I can't even make emergency calls in this 2G area. In your case, there was obviously some signal available (maybe just not the one you're paying for) that you could use in an emergency. In my case there's no signal that the phone can process.

    I also tried "2G only" but that made no difference.

    I've done a couple of hours worth of research on this and I haven't come across a lot of complaints about the N5's signal capability. My hunch is that this is an AT&T problem -- APN settings or the wrong SIM. I could have a bad phome but I doubt seriously that this is a widespread problem.

    Does anybody know for sure that their N5 works in an AT&T 2G-only area?
  5. #5  

    Default Re: Nexus 5: Reception Problem on AT&T, 2G Area

    It may very well be a coverage area issue. I have a couple of spots during my commute where I completely lose the signal. Then as I move away I slowly get 2G. then 3G and finally LTE. Was the Same with my Galaxy Nexus. I am on T-Mobile and I suspect the "emergency calls only" option is because I got handed off to AT&T during the coverage blackout.
    Pat

    Galaxy Nexus 10 - stock KitKat 4.4.4
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  6. Thread Author  Thread Author    #6  

    Default Re: Nexus 5: Reception Problem on AT&T, 2G Area

    Quote Originally Posted by patruns View Post
    It may very well be a coverage area issue. I have a couple of spots during my commute where I completely lose the signal. Then as I move away I slowly get 2G. then 3G and finally LTE. Was the Same with my Galaxy Nexus. I am on T-Mobile and I suspect the "emergency calls only" option is because I got handed off to AT&T during the coverage blackout.
    That's certainly a possibility. It makes me wonder how accurate AT&T's coverage map is.
  7. #7  

    Default Re: Nexus 5: Reception Problem on AT&T, 2G Area

    Coverage maps are calculated using math. I know a local company here make a killing selling the service a few years back.

    Also, in GSM mode (AT&T and T-Mobile), 2G will show up as E and 1G show up as G. 1x is CDMA carriers' term. The only 2G area is probably on those remote mountain ranges where is not viable to lay a high speed network for serving a few ppl. In most area, you should see at least 3G (H) or no signal.

    Nexus 5 isn't the best for signal reception but not the worse either.
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  8. Thread Author  Thread Author    #8  

    Default Re: Nexus 5: Reception Problem on AT&T, 2G Area

    Quote Originally Posted by foxbat121 View Post
    Coverage maps are calculated using math. I know a local company here make a killing selling the service a few years back.
    ...
    That's very interesting. I'm going to try to look that up. I'd like to know how the model works.

    Quote Originally Posted by foxbat121 View Post
    ...

    Also, in GSM mode (AT&T and T-Mobile), 2G will show up as E and 1G show up as G. 1x is CDMA carriers' term. The only 2G area is probably on those remote mountain ranges where is not viable to lay a high speed network for serving a few ppl. In most area, you should see at least 3G (H) or no signal.

    ...
    The 2G area I'm concerned about is just what you described: a remote part of the Southern Appalachians with very few people. Thanks for the E and G codes -- I never see them but most of the time I'm in an LTE area so maybe I've just never been in the right area.
  9. #9  

    Default Re: Nexus 5: Reception Problem on AT&T, 2G Area

    I can't remember the last time I saw EDGE on my phone. I had completely forgotten about it.


    Sent from my iPhone 5S. The "S" is for sexy.
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  10. #10  

    Default Re: Nexus 5: Reception Problem on AT&T, 2G Area

    I saw the "E" when I purposely tested it for this thread. It didn't show right away though. Came up about a minute later. People probably din't see it much because they quickly move into a better signal area. Even a few yards can make a difference.
    Pat

    Galaxy Nexus 10 - stock KitKat 4.4.4
    Galaxy Nexus 7 (2nd Generation) - stock KitKat 4.4.4
    Chromecast
    Nexus 5 - stock KitKat 4.4.4
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  11. #11  

    Default Re: Nexus 5: Reception Problem on AT&T, 2G Area

    In E and G mode, your phone can only have voice or data, not both. So, I'm happy if these modes don't show up at all.
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  12. Thread Author  Thread Author    #12  

    Default Re: Nexus 5: Reception Problem on AT&T, 2G Area

    I asked about this problem on forums.att.com and someone identified as an AT&T employee said it might be a bad SIM (or the wrong one). I'm going to try that.

    Also, just to be clear, this problem only occurs when I'm in a remote area where 2G coverage is the only possibility -- very far from LTE or 3G signals.
  13. Thread Author  Thread Author    #13  

    Default Re: Nexus 5: Reception Problem on AT&T, 2G Area

    Update:

    I got a new SIM for the Nexus 5 and tried it in the 2G area where I've been having problems. It seems a bit better but the signal is still very weak -- and there rarely is any signal at all.

    I do see an "E" (indication a 2G signal) sometimes so the phone does work on 2G. I never saw that before I got the new SIM.

    Here's the thing that baffles me: In this area where I get almost no signal, I occasionally see the "E" symbol but often see an "H" (indicating HSPA+). I find that very odd since according to the coverage map, I'm nowhere near any HSPA+ coverage but I'm well within an area where 2G coverage is indicated on the AT&T map. That leads me to a couple of possibilities: (a) the coverage map is significantly wrong; or (b) the tower providing 2G coverage in the area is having a technical problem.

    I also tried several locations within this area marked as 2G. The result is consistently bad.

    Question: Is it possible to identify the tower in question and check to make sure that the problem isn't with it? I can provide GPS coordinates for several points within the 2G coverage area where I get virtually no signal.

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