We believe that one of the best ways to know the type of network connection we have on our mobile device is by looking at the icon in the top bar of our smartphone. If you have a mobile compatible with 5G and an operator that has already made the leap to the fifth mobile generation and you see this icon, you will think that everything is correct, but it may not be so.
Sometimes, the 5G icon is not synonymous with having 5G and we are going to tell you when that happens and how to detect it.
Beware of the 5G ULI
Let’s get in position. you bought a 5G compatible mobile phone and your operator is one of those who have made the leap to this technology. You think you’re at the forefront… but you don’t get the theoretical results they promised. What’s going on? That you probably don’t really have 5G no matter how much your smartphone says yes.
What happens is that your mobile is deceiving you and shows an icon simply because it tells you that the 4G network can work in 5G NSA (non standalone) mode, not that it really is. The technical name would be 5G Upper Layer Indication or 5G ULI.
The deception is not your smartphone itself, but the operators are the ones that usually use this trick. They usually set this ULI flag on 4G areas where it is planned to be extended to 5G in the coming times. Thus, it seems that customers in that area already have the fifth generation of mobile networks, since, even if their device does not find a 5G signal, it shows the icon.
In this way, the icon that your smartphone is working in 5G because you are viewing that icon is not 100% reliablealthough there are not very complex methods to know if we are being deceived or not.
How to know if you really have 5G
The procedure to actually know the status of your network and if you are connected to 4G or 5G varies depending on the operating system. Not only to find out the truth, but ULI affects the performance of the smartphone and drains the battery as it is forcing the phone to search for a nearby 5G antenna.
In iPhone, iOS has the possibility of searching for all this information integrated, although it is somewhat hidden. Enter the code *3001#12345#* on the call pad to access Field Test mode
Once inside, go to All Metrics > RAT – Serving Cell Info. Once inside, among a lot of parameters you will see a section called “Deployment Type”. Here you will check if you are being deceived or not. If in the DeploymentType field you find the value “5G NSA (1)”as the image below shows, your 5G icon will be nothing more than a pretty decoration and you are still not part of the actual 5G.
In the case of Android, download the netmonster app, which collects, displays and stores information about nearby cell towers and also see the bands to which the device is connected. In this case, to detect ULI, you’d have to see the 5G NSA Disconnected message while there’s data activity to know you’re not really on 5G.