Although I tend to use Wi-Fi when available, there is nothing more frustrating than not being able to make a phone call from my own home due a problem with the mobile network. Granted, due to my day job requirements, we now have a landline in addition to our mobile devices in our home; but I still don’t like to be tethered, on a leash. Other symptoms of a mobile network problem can be a lack of access to websites or online apps. The situation may appear dour, but we have some fixes.
If a stable Internet connection is more important to you than a stable relationship with other human beings, you’ve come to the right place. Whether the problem manifests itself as Phone Not Registered on Network, Mobile Network Not Available, or No Signal Found, we have solutions. It’s a very common problem, but there are ways to cope. Let us help.
Method 1: Start Simple
There’s an acronym—KISS—(that stands for Keep It Simple Stupid) that might apply here. The solution to this problem is usually simple, and you most likely don’t need to be tech-savvy to fix it.
These general steps apply to all types of Android devices, regardless of make/model. These specific steps that describe how to carry out these actions are examples, since the exact process may vary by device. Try these tips if you have no network at all, weak signal, or intermittent service. More advanced methods are available below.
Restart Your Device
On most devices, you simply long-press the Power button.
Grip the Phone Lightly
It’s been a long time since Apple’s AntennaGate, but holding your device too firmly in the vicinity of the antenna can deplete signal. You might even try removing your phone’s case so that it doesn’t create a barrier.
Ensure Airplane Mode is OFF
Go to Settings > More Settings > Flight Mode.
Switch to 2G (Helps with Phone Calls Only)
Switching to 2G can help to boost your signal, but it has the opposite effect on Internet performance and speed.
Keep a Full Charge or Even Replace Your Battery
Maintaining the connection to the cell phone tower requires a constant supply of power.
Make Sure Device isn’t in Power Saving Mode
Go to Apps > Settings > Battery. Depending on the device, it may also be called Battery Saver or STAMINA Mode.
Map Your Home’s Signal
Take a stroll through your house and note the signal strength in different locations.
Note: The bars that you see are not the most accurate representation of signal. If you are up for it, see Method 4 for a more accurate approach.
Clear any Obstructions You Can
There’s not a lot you can do about hills or trees blocking signal. However, going outside or near a window can help mitigate any building materials that contribute to blocking signal. If you are in a rural area, you may not be close to any tower, which is a tough situation. Read on for more help though.
Get Some Signal Boosters
Signal boosters are pretty easy to set up and use if you are willing to spare some cash. They are gadgets (also known as repeaters) that take the signal from outdoors and strengthen it inside. So if you don’t get good service in your yard, they probably won’t be of much use to you. Also, this might help you make calls, but probably won’t do anything for your Internet.
Method 2: Strategies for a Stubborn SIM
The SIM card is often at the heart of the matter when it comes to mobile network problems. Therefore, we are going to take extra care in ruling out its culpability.
Turn your Android off, then switch it back on. If you just inserted a new SIM, many phones won’t even recognize it until you restart the device. This is probably the simplest way to resolve minor problems of any kind when it comes to your Android.
Adjust SIM Card
The SIM card must be seated in your Android properly. Your SIM card is what connects you to your network, so this is crucial. However, not all devices offer SIM cards that you have access to, but if yours does this can definitely be a fix. If you drop your Android, the SIM can become misaligned, or it may not have been installed properly to begin with. Place the SIM securely in its tray.
If the SIM isn’t fitting well, some swear by placing tape, cardboard, paper, etc. into the tray for a tighter fit. Although this seems like a cheap way to rig your SIM’s connection (and that’s because it is), it also seems to work for many. Be careful though. Never use much force on the delicate parts inside your phone.
If the SIM is defective or damaged, it may have to be replaced.
Remove and Reinsert SIM Card
Make sure you turn your Android off before installing or removing SIM cards—otherwise you may harm your device and/or card. Take care not to scratch or bend the SIM card. For some devices, the SIM tray is located directly behind the volume buttons. For other Androids, you can access the SIM by sliding off the back cover and removing the battery. Just take the SIM out and try again.
Does this happen everywhere? Is it constant, or intermittent? Carrier service must be available where you are located in order for your SIM to work. Are you next to people with the same provider who have service? What about people in a different area? Reliability is influenced by how close you are to the towers.
Call Customer Service
Contact your carrier regarding your SIM.
Reset Network Settings
This will clear your network settings back to their defaults. Go to Settings > Backup & Reset > Network settings reset.
Method 3: When there’s No Signal Whatsoever
When there’s no signal at all, the situation seems the most hopeless. It’s not often something that can be fixed by going upstairs. But the bright side to this is that once we do fix it, it’s probably less likely to be a recurrent problem than a weak signal.
Check & Toggle Airplane Mode
Airplane or Flight Mode is accessible from the notification shade on many Android devices.
Try a FEMTOCELL as an Alternative
FEMTOCELLs are devices that convert landline Internet to a cellular signal.
Use Wi-Fi as an Alternative
Forward Calls to a Different Number
Open your Android’s phone app. Go to Menu > Settings or Call Settings > Call Forwarding.
Use a service like Open Signal to research carrier service for your location.
Download Open Signal
Method 4: Intermediate Troubleshooting
While these steps aren’t your basic reboot, and you probably don’t do these things on a regular basis, they are still tasks that most users will be able to accomplish without too much difficulty.
Manually Choose Setting for Network Operators
Go to Settings > More Networks > Mobile Networks. The automatic setting is set to select the fastest network available, but it’s not necessarily the one with the strongest signal. Also, if the fastest network isn’t stable, your Android might do some switching back and forth. The WCDMA or GSM selections may provide a stronger, more stable signal.
Map Your Home’s Signal
Take a stroll through your house and note the signal strength in different locations. But instead of looking at the signal bars, use a more accurate measurement. To get to it, you would typically visit Settings > About Phone > Network > Signal Strength or Network Type and Strength. Signal strength is expressed in dBm (decibels) and as a negative number, with -60 dBm being ideal.
Test Radio Signal Broadcast
This option may not be present on all Android devices. The following method will most often work if it is. Dial *#*#4636*#*# from your Android. From the Testing menu that pops up, go to Phone Information > Run Ping Test or, toggle the radio by first selecting Turn Off Radio, then Turn On Radio.
Check for a Corrupt IMEI
Dial *#06# to see the IMEI for your device. If the result you receive instead is Null, the IMEI could be your problem. Certain numerical IMEIs can also indicate that it’s corrupt. This can be restored by going into Engineer Mode. To get there, either dial *#*#3646633#*#* or download the app below.
Navigate to the Connectivity tab. Click on CDS Information. Select Radio Information. If you have dual SIMs, you will see both Phone 1 and Phone 2. Under Phone 1, insert the following command: AT +EGMR=1,7, “IMEI1” and tap on Send at Command. Under Phone 2, insert: AT +EGMR=1,10, “IMEI2”, then reboot.
Download MTK Engineering Mode
Update APN Settings
Tap on Settings > Mobile Networks (or Wireless Networks) > Access Point Names. Add the APN settings from your carrier’s website and select them. If APN protocol is set to IPV6, change it to IPV4.
Just in case you missed the notice of an available software update, go to Settings > About device > Software Update > Check for update.
Method 5: Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures
If you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work, give these steps a shot.
Go to Settings > Backup & Reset > Factory data reset.
Flash New Firmware
We aren’t talking about a mere software upgrade here—we’re talking about you manually changing your phone’s operating system—a feat that may require your device to be rooted, or at the very least your bootloader to be unlocked. You will also need to install a custom recovery, like TWRP. You’ll need the new ROM itself; also known as the factory image if stock, or custom if developed by someone other than the manufacturer or Google. Either way, be sure to select a ROM well-suited for your device.
Contact Your Network Operator
You can visit your provider’s website, a website like downdetector.com, or call the network provider directly to determine if service is out in your area.
Pay a Visit to the Service Center
Turn on Roaming
Obviously you should not have to turn on roaming in your own home. If this works, it’s only a temporary solution, and is further evidence that there is a problem.
I used to work in a building that was built pretty much like a bomb shelter. Obstructions (tall buildings can do it too) can make it difficult; so make sure you try going outside, upstairs by a window, etc. A change in carrier might help too.
What has helped you overcome problems with your mobile network inside your home? Still struggling? Share your thoughts in the comments.