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Communication malfunction in the mobile network: Ten tips for troubleshooting in the smartphone

“Why does UMTS not work?” – “Why does not my smartphone receive data?” – “Where are the text messages?”. Such questions are asked by hotline employees every now and then. Not infrequently resonates the reproachful undertone, there would be problems with the mobile network on the ground. That this is far from always true is shown by a detailed analysis: In the end, the fault is not the network, but the increasing complexity of smartphones. Because technically, smartphones and tabs are nothing more than small high-performance computers that can make phone calls and transfer data. Although manufacturers are saving many users access to the depths of the system with the help of intuitive operating systems and touchscreens, there are still numerous ways to override the smooth running of the smartphone itself. Again, the more complex the device, the more numerous the sources of error.

And that’s not how it works on some days: the mobile phone, smartphone or tablet suddenly does not want to work as it should. Although the symptoms are explained quickly, the causes of the strange behavior of the mobile phone are of a varied nature and therefore often difficult to find.

We give ten tips on how typical errors can still be discovered – without a hotline call:

  1. Hardly any smartphone software is absolutely error-free. This also applies to operating systems. If the smartphone stops responding or displays a strange behavior, the so-called “reboot” – in other words, the complete switching off and on of the smartphone – helps in most cases. Similar to a regular computer, the reboot will stop running but no longer needed processes.
  2. No access to the data network: If the mobile phone does not find the data network of the mobile network provider after switching off the WLAN access, a manual network search often helps. Some smartphones persist persistently in the GSM or UMTS network, without activating booster like EDGE or HSDPA. In this case, only switching off and on again helps.
  3. In principle, no network? This could be due to the network settings in the smartphone. If the smartphone is manually set to UMTS, staying in an area with pure GSM coverage will result in the message “No network”. Remedy the setting “Automatic network search (GSM / UMTS)”.
  4. The kilobyte counter rattles and the volume contingent is exhausted – despite WLAN – already in the middle of the month? This could be due to an app, because in some of the small programs on the smartphone (or tab), the Internet access used must be explicitly set. By default, the mobile network is selected here. Thus, the app automatically ignores a wireless network and continues to receive data over the mobile network.
  5. Too low data transfer speed? If you like to use UMTS speed tests, you should be careful: Each test requires about five megabytes. Anyone who carries out a test twice a day and otherwise transmits only a small amount of data nevertheless quickly reaches several hundred megabytes a month. Especially with smaller volume packages, the limit is often reached well before the end of the month. Result: The network provider reduces the speed.
  6. If the mobile phone or smartphone continuously receives the same SMS over and over again, this indicates a software error – the mobile phone does not correctly acknowledge receipt of the mobile network. Result: The servers repeat the sending of the SMS again and again. So that the mobile phone is not completely blocked by the constant SMS reception, the search for a software update or the change to another, functioning mobile phone helps in the short term.
  7. Used mobile phone bought, used SIM and still does not work over the mobile network. This could be due to a faulty entry in the smartphone. The so-called APN entry (E-Plus: internet.eplus.de) regulates via which access point the smartphone reaches the Internet. For used devices, an old entry of the previous user may be the reason for this error. This also applies if the previous owner deleted his personal data but did not restore the factory settings.
  8. If the sending of text messages fails, this is usually due to a faulty entry in the depths of the smartphone: the phone number for the SMS center. If this is not correct or even if it is the previous owner’s network operator, the own network provider refuses to accept the text message.
  9. Smartphones with an Android operating system offer the option of selectively blocking individual numbers or whole number lanes via a so-called blacklist in the smartphone. Anyone who wonders why some calls are lost should check the blacklist in their smartphones for incorrect entries such as number-winners.
  10. The smartphone does not transmit any data: hidden in the depths of the menus is a menu item “Packet data: Activate data network”, which – once the check mark is deactivated – permanently blocks data transfer.

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