Sprint seems to be having a hard time with 4G. First they deployed Wi-Max while everyone else was jumping on the LTE band-wagon, now users are complaining that they’re not getting LTE on their LTE-enabled Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphones — even when they’re allegedly under an LTE umbrella. What gives?
It turns out there’s some magic going on — well, maybe some well-intentioned technical stuff anyway. The problem, it seems, happens when you’ve got a stronger 3G signal that your 4G signal. When that’s the case the phone figures you’d rather have a reliable signal than a fast one. Unfortunately, most people are reporting that a 1-bar LTE signal is pretty stable, and a lot faster than a 3G signal that’s twice as strong.
Is there anything you can do about it?
Besides getting closer to the LTE tower, yes, there are a few things you can try, but neither of them are without their side-effects, so be aware of what you’re getting yourself into.
First up? Use a custom ROM. Some CyanogenMod 10 ROMs include the ability to use “LTE only”, of course this means that you’ll lose network connectivity as soon as you stray too far from LTE. You’ll also have to go without texting or calling — we’ll get into why in just a minute.
If you’re not running a CM10 ROM you can try setting LTE Only using dialer codes.
Open your dialer and key in *#*#DATA*#*# (or *#*#3282*#*#), this will take you to “Data Programming”, then tap “Edit”. Next you’re going to need your MSL which you can get by running the MSL Script. (If you have questions about the MSL Script head over to the MSL Script thread on the XDA forums.) From there go to “Others/More” (which is sometimes in the “HDR/1X Selection”) and choose “LTE only”, then reboot.
You’ll probably have the same problems that you’d have had doing it the Custom ROM route. Why is that? They’re essentially doing the same thing: turning off CDMA and leaving on LTE.
CDMA is “interesting”
In the USA Sprint and Verizon are the primary CDMA carriers. Have you ever wondered why you can’t check to see what time the movie starts while you’re talking to your friend over most CDMA phones? The reason is that both voice and data use CDMA. Generally speaking, you can talk or you can use data, but only one at a time.
LTE is a whole new beast. Unfortunately the current state of affairs uses LTE for data, but not voice or even SMS. Lame? Certainly. It’s just growing pains. Eventually traditional CDMA will be phased out and VoLTE will be the norm. This, however, will require LTE to be much more wide-spread than it is now. That time will come, just not right away.
In the meantime, try standing a little closer to the LTE tower.
Update: One of our readers pointed out that you can, in fact, use CDMA and LTE at the same time on most devices. Also, there are a few phones that use an “advanced” CDMA radio to allow simultaneous voice and data over CDMA. While both of these are true, the tip we’re discussing here requires you to turn off CDMA completely so you can get LTE data on your Sprint Galaxy Nexus, and unfortunately, this means you’re also turning off voice and SMS in addition to CDMA-data.
Source: XDA Forums