Force your Nexus device to use 3G in low network coverage area

Here's a simple way to force your Nexus device to use 3G (instead of EDGE) even if network coverage is low.

One of the most irritating things about Nexus devices is how they don’t stick to the network you choose. Say you’ve got 3G data to use and network coverage is weak, your device will quickly switch back to EDGE (or whatever has good coverage).

Funny thing is, AOSP has built-in feature to ‘force’ an Android device to use a network (even if coverage is nil) – but it is kind of hidden. Read on.


To access the feature, open Phone/Dialer app, type ##4636##. Tap on Phone information. Scroll down and you’ll find a drop down menu where you can choose between different network modes. Choose ‘WCDMA only’.

That’s all. Now your device will stick to 3G regardless of network coverage.

If you want a quicker way to access the setting, then get this little app called ‘Network’. It’ll directly launch the Phone information page and you can then change the network mode.


Arun Sathiya January 17, 2014

I got a silly doubt here, Vibin. I normally use 2G data. When I’m in the 3G mode in the mobile network settings, I get 3G speed, but with 2G data! Why’s that?

This happens at times. Not always.

Vibin January 17, 2014

That’s weird, but I have no idea. 🙂

Arun Sathiya January 18, 2014

It used to happen a lot to me and many other airtel users. 🙂 Sadly, it doesn’t work anymore. :-\