Slow 4G? Your service provider may not be to blame

If your mobile broadband speed is not as good as it used to be, you might want to try some troubleshooting steps, before shifting the blame to the service provider


While 4G services were rolled out only last year, devices supporting 4G have been available in the mid-range and high-end segment longer than that.
While 4G services were rolled out only last year, devices supporting 4G have been available in the mid-range and high-end segment longer than that.

Mobile broadband speeds that we get on our smartphones have improved considerably with the roll-out of 4G services across India. Despite several reports of poor mobile data speeds, operators have managed to cock average internet speeds of over 10Mbps in the last few months. According to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai) report on mobile broadband speed for the month of January 2017, published on 17 February, Bharti Airtel recorded the highest average download speed of 11.9Mbps, while Reliance Jio is in the second place with a recorded average download speed of 8.3Mbps.

However, if you feel that the 3G or 4G speeds that you are getting for downloads and web browsing on your phone are not satisfactory, you should check a few things on your phone before getting in touch with your operator.

Adjust phone settings

While 4G services were rolled out only last year, devices supporting 4G have been available in the mid-range and high-end segment longer than that. If your old smartphone supports 4G networks, you don’t have to switch to a new phone yet. But you have to tweak your phone’s settings to take advantage of the 4G speeds. Go to phone Settings->Mobile networks->preferred network type and enable 4G.

You also need to reset your phone’s Access Point Network (APN) settings to default to ensure the phone’s using the right APN information to connect to the operator’s wireless network. If the default APN settings are not applied by itself, go to Settings->Mobile networks->Access Point names->and tap on the menu icon at the top of the page and select reset to default.

Every operator requires APN information to determine a user’s IP address and connect the phone to the correct internet gateway.

Buy smartphones with good antennas

The quality of broadband speed depends a lot on the quality of antenna used in the phone. One of the reasons for slow or erratic broadband speed in budget smartphones can be poor quality antennas. In order to keep the prices down, many phone makers tend to go for inferior quality antennas offered as a combination by the chip maker.

So, even if your phone runs on a good quality processor, it is not necessary that it has the best quality antenna in it. In areas with connectivity issues, these antennas struggle to get the reception right, resulting in poor broadband speed as well. There really isn’t much you can do about this right now, but it’s something to keep in mind when you buy your next smartphone.

Keep an eye on data cap

Many mobile data plans come with a data cap after which the internet speed automatically switches to slower internet speeds. If your internet is suddenly running slow, you should check your existing internet speed a few times through Speedtest.net or Netflix’s Fast Speed Test app to determine if it is not a temporary glitch. If the internet remains slow, check the data usage, which most mobile service providers anyway provide via USSD codes on their smartphone apps and also in your account on their website.

App management

Internet speeds on mobile phone often slows down by resource intensive social networking apps such as Facebook and Twitter. Using these apps can result in a sizeable amount of data consumption due to their tendency to auto play videos and constantly update posts. However, by tweaking the video autoplay settings in these apps can help reduce unnecessary data wastage.

Some apps offer data saver modes. In Web browsers such as Chrome and Opera, the data saver mode reduces the load time of a web page by redirecting the web page to their servers which compresses the content by almost 70%, resulting in faster page loads.

Netflix allows users to regulate the quality of video streams when the phone is using mobile broadband, and stream up to 4 hours of content on just 1GB of data usage.

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