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Problem Connecting in 2G Areas

Problem Connecting in 2G Areas

I got my Google Nexus 5 (N5) from the Google Play Store and the SIM from AT&T. There are no problems with either LTE or HSPA+ reception.  I have a GoPhone plan.


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 "E" 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.


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 phone 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?                        


Any help would be greatly appreciated.                        

Message 1 of 8

Re: Problem Connecting in 2G Areas

Hi RealDogBoy,


I would first suggest getting a new SIM Card. When I got my Nexus 5, the old one I was using with my S4 wasn't working at all in the new device.You should not have to fiddle with the APN settings at all on the device.


With that being said if you get a new SIM and the device fails to activate, you can use the commonly out there APN settings with the settings. Keep in mind that if you have these settings activated you won't get an LTE connection if you go into an area that supports it.


You can find the APN settings Here


Hope Everything works out for you!

Employee Contributor*
*I am an AT&T employee and the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent AT&T's position, strategies or opinions.
Message 2 of 8

Re: Problem Connecting in 2G Areas

Thanks, I'm going to try another SIM.  It will be a few days before I can get back to the remote area (2G only) so I can test it.


I like the phone and the LTE coverage in the city where I live is excellent.  I just hope I can get this 2G issue fixed.

Message 3 of 8

Re: Problem Connecting in 2G Areas

Try going to settings->more->mobile networks->preferred network type and hit 2g
Message 4 of 8

Re: Problem Connecting in 2G Areas

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, very weak -- and there rarely is any signal at all. I do see an "E" (indicating 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 very 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: How accurate are the coverage maps? I've heard that they're created with mathematical algorithms based on a number of factors. I'd like to know more about that. Another Question: Is it possible to identify the tower in question here 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.
Message 5 of 8

Re: Problem Connecting in 2G Areas

I tried to put paragraph breaks in the above message but the software deleted them for some reason. Sorry.
Message 6 of 8

Re: Problem Connecting in 2G Areas

2g is being phased out in some locations, the tower transivers are being replaced with ones for the LTe bands, they started in 2012 and it is scheduled to be completely gone by the end of 2017

Message 7 of 8

Re: Problem Connecting in 2G Areas

Thanks, wingrider01.  That's good news.


Do you know if, during this conversion process, the 2G tower is out of commission?


If so, does that mean that there are places on the coverage map where 2G coverage is indicated but there's no coverage at all because of this transition?



Message 8 of 8
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