160 304 Votes

Mobile phone shows 3G, 4G, H, H+, E and G in the bar - What does this mean?

Question by Translated Content | 26/11/2012 at 19:06

I have noticed a strange behavior on my mobile phone. Especially when I am on the mobile Internet, in the status bar at the top of the display, again and again hieroglyphic signs are changing. So far, I have seen the combinations "3G", "4G", "H", "H+", "E" and "G".

Can anyone tell me what this means? Some of the characters are changing very quickly from time to time, but it seems to have no effect otherwise.



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516Best Answer
768 Votes

You do not need to worry about this signs. The signs stand for the network and the standard by which you are currently on the network.

You should know, that as time went on, better standards for mobile phone networks have been developed which were notably faster than their predecessors. Depending on where you are, how your phone is set and the other circumstances, your phone uses different of these standards. The standard by which you are currently logged on, is then displayed in the status bar on your phone.

First, there was only the GSM network, then there were improvements of the GSM network, finally the newer and faster UMTS network, and again improvements of it. The faster UMTS network is not yet available everywhere, so, often you have to go over the older and slower GSM network even today.

About the abbreviations:

  • G stands for GPRS and is the slowest standard, used is the GSM network (2G).
  • E is an extension of GPRS, it is called EDGE and it is correspondingly a little faster, but still uses the old GSM network (2G).
  • 3G stands for UMTS and is the successor to the GSM network and faster.
  • H and H+ are standing for HSPA and HSPA+. Both use the UMTS network, where H is faster than 3G and H+ is faster than H.
  • 4G or LTE stands for LTE and is the fastest.
  • 5G is even faster than LTE but still in its development phase.

I wrote a little info on the subject that contrasts the different transmission standards and networks more precisely: Difference between GSM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSPA and LTE.
Last Update on 07/03/2018 | Created on 26/11/2012

ReplyPositive Negative
270388 Votes

So very well explained... Short and sweet... Explained from a layman's perspective... Liked it...
23/04/2013 at 23:56

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36118 Votes

Thanks for this preciseness E tinker.it was very helpful and I feel much better about my service now.
30/05/2013 at 15:58

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2456 Votes

@E-tinker. You are the man! Beautifully said. A1 is your score. I really wany to Thank you for this piece. Stay blessed dude!
11/07/2013 at 05:01

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943 Votes

Now there's a sliding scale that's easy to understand and useful to know, good work tinker :)
13/07/2013 at 00:40

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2034 Votes

I really wany to thank u for very well explained Short and good information.

Thanks a lot
22/07/2013 at 06:16

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1523 Votes

Short, sweet and precise!! Thanks for the info!! xD
08/09/2013 at 21:16

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430 Votes

Mr. E-Tinker thanks for the info........ Nicely explained. Now I have the clear picture.............. :)
30/10/2013 at 08:52

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115 Votes

Its has really helped and cleared my concept all the signs shown on network tower and its meanings explained so nicely...well done bro!
02/12/2013 at 14:26

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-218 Votes

Thank you for the detailed explanation of the difference of each one, cos me, myself don't really know what all these means. And my nephew was asking me about it since he got his Motorola Droid XT912 I sent him back home in the Philippines. He can use it without tweaking the phone since it's a global phone. Thanks again.
23/12/2013 at 15:30

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414 Votes

Thanks Tinker!!!! Your explanation was precise and to the point. I used to wonder why my mobile internet sign keeps on changing to E, H, H+, and 3G. Thanks again for this wonderful explanation. :)
25/05/2014 at 09:32

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313 Votes

Good explanations buddy. Keep helping the people who actually requires. Thanks for now. And I will ask for lot doubts. Don't hesitate. Thanks once again.
25/06/2014 at 08:40

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915 Votes

I have Samsung Note3 but when 'G' appears on my signal bar then the net stops working. Please help..
08/11/2014 at 08:22

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08 Votes

Amazing explanation. Thank you. I knew my phone was slow when not showing 4g but now I know the break down. Saved to my bookmarks for future reference. ☺
11/11/2014 at 19:34

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26 Votes

I had little knowledge about those.I know only the meaning of G and E. But now I've clear idea.

Easily and well defined.

Thanks and like it.
08/01/2015 at 16:08

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22 Votes

Thx very helpful answer and great question I really wanted tto know them too.....
06/03/2015 at 03:59

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-28 Votes

Thanks, very helpful. I get H+ most of the time on my phone, and I thought I was not getting 3G speeds. This clears the apprehension. Thanks again and God bless you!
12/03/2015 at 06:03

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02 Votes

Thanks for the information dude. Great knowledge :):)

I was so worried of that network sign anyways thanks.
03/07/2015 at 16:25

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-24 Votes

Thanks you for your help, I was confused cos my phone got change itself from H to H+ .

I am really happy now.
15/01/2016 at 23:21

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00 Votes

Thanx 4 the brief but concise explanation.. So even a plank like me could make sense of it..So many of the Techy responses have a tendency to confuse as opposed to inform..
16/05/2017 at 07:26

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00 Votes

Thank you! I was scared for a second that the H and H+ meant it was either roaming or my phone was calling out for help.
25/03/2018 at 01:26

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-513 Votes

@E-Tinker - Good info. But it dont connects to google play and other apps. while it connects to internet..!! What to do?
19/06/2013 at 18:09

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618 Votes

Curious problem. Please open a new topic and give us more information about the issue, otherwise it is hard to find a solution.

Maybe, restarting your mobile device can help, another reason might be that you have a poor signal (google play needs many data to transfer) - there can be several reasons responsible for that.
28/06/2013 at 14:46

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214 Votes

Thank you great help. I am a novice and panic when I see an unusual sign in case it is going to cost me money!
20/08/2013 at 17:42

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414 Votes

I recently noted a R over t bars. What does R stand for?
21/09/2013 at 21:22

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1224 Votes

A R in the status bar usually means that your mobile is in Roaming Mode. That means, you are not connected to your usual network of your provider. 

This can happen, for example, if you are abroad and the phone is connecting to another mobile network that is available there.

See: Phone showing R in Status Bar.
22/09/2013 at 17:31

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315 Votes

Really useful answer in all matters. I m verry verry happpppy with ur all answers. Gooooood job. Keep it up. Jai hind.
12/11/2013 at 08:59

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-17 Votes

My mobile is showing H+ network on 2G data plans. Is there any use with 3G data plans, which r more expensive than 2G plans.
23/11/2013 at 08:19

ReplyPositive Negative
412 Votes

Usually, if you only had paid for the 2G speed, you can nevertheless use the 3G network - but the speed is limited to 2G.
23/11/2013 at 11:46

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-19 Votes

I got a 3g net pack but it is still showing "E" and the speed also is very poor bth my phn n sim are 3g pls hlp.
16/02/2014 at 20:02

ReplyPositive Negative
-28 Votes

Even though you updated your carrier to 3G, it shows you "E" which is 2G when you are in a area/place/cellar where 3G signals are not reachable/available. Then your carrier automatically goes to 2G(E).
09/07/2014 at 07:34

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44 Votes

Have you checked the APN settings for your network?

You can do this by going to Settings > More > Mobile Networks > Access Point Names, select your SIM (if you have more than 1 inserted) and then check the settings with your network operator.

Also, go to Settings > More > Mobile Networks > 3G Service and ensure the 3G service is enabled on your active SIM.

Also in Settings > More > Mobile Networks > Data Connection and make sure this is enabled for your active SIM.
17/12/2014 at 10:50

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02 Votes

1. Go to Settings.
2. Go to More Settings under WiFi/Bluetooth/Data Usage
3. Go to Mobile Networks
4. Here you should get 3 options GSM/WCDMA(Auto Mode), GSM Only & WCDMA Only.
5. Select GSM/WCDMA(Auto Mode)

You should be good to go!
17/12/2014 at 10:55

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04 Votes

And what does L stand for? Does it stand for LTE? And now I have to make sure my comment is long enough.
15/03/2014 at 18:45

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15 Votes

Never heard about a L in the status bar - but of course, the symbols can differ from phone model to phone model.

So if L is an indication for the Internet speed (perhaps, it could also be a sign from an other app), it would probably stand for LTE although normally 4G is the symbol for LTE. Or it is standing for W-(L)AN or (L)ocal.
16/03/2014 at 02:36

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06 Votes

Man what an answer simply liked it. I will definitely bring you my future problems related to the phone networks, but one question though i have that is how can you understand if your provider gives you unlimited data usage or not, such as the Lyca mobile has recently offered unlimited data usage for a price but i read on the internet that they will drop it to 128kbps after 10GB of usage. so was wondering if you have any solution for this. Thanks
08/05/2014 at 15:04

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113 Votes

Please open a new topic for each new questions, otherwise it is hard to find answers and the answers cannot help other people who are searching for them.

About the thing with your provider: Most providers are limitting the traffic after usage of a specific amount of data. That's common.

Of course, if they do not communicate this, I think this is not legally. So good changes for your lawyers...
08/05/2014 at 22:02

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117175 Votes


GGPRS2G0.054 Mb/s2000
EEDGE2.5G0.218 Mb/s2006
3G3G3G0.384 Mb/s2003
HHSDPA3.5G7.2 Mb/s2006
H+HSDPA+3.75G42 Mb/s2011
LTELTE/4G4G100 Mb/s2013

30/05/2014 at 11:29

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06 Votes

That's weird because my phone runs slowest when it says H and only works when it says LTE and barely works when it says 3G. For internet.
10/06/2014 at 05:14

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-37 Votes

I have a Samsung Galaxy and it displays the E and I have no Internet cant send photos or nothing. I don't know what to do it works in same places and then doesn't work at all.
18/08/2014 at 05:55

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AskingBox Moderation

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410 Votes

Question is already answered: Smartphone showing Internet symbol in status bar, but no Internet connection available.

By the way, please open a new topic for each of your questions.
18/08/2014 at 12:30

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24 Votes

My status showed h+ all these years.... I don't what went wrong it shows E since a week .. n th network s slower than ever... Tired trying to figure out why? n what should I be doing to bring it back to h+?
08/11/2014 at 16:32

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-24 Votes

Select WCDMA network it will stop changing.
Your phone is catching 2g 3g both networks.

It will solve the problm
29/06/2015 at 13:07

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02 Votes

I bought a 4g bundle and there is no lte. Is this buffering or just bad reception or does need to be fixed?
09/01/2015 at 23:54

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33 Votes

I got H in the bar of my mobile phone.
I had gone through your answer and I understood the meaning for it.

Thank you for the explanation.
15/01/2015 at 08:42

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11 Vote

Thank you. Does it also mean that I have data connection? Because with my other phone showing 3G, I have data connection.
15/05/2015 at 21:01

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00 Votes

Just so you know. It helped non techie people like us. :)
I know it should represent hierarchy of speed, I just dont know which is which. Hahaha!
22/07/2015 at 17:06

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00 Votes

Hi my littler brother got the internet on his phone but h sign doesn't show up. What does it mean. Thanks.
06/09/2015 at 19:31

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00 Votes

Thanks, for your explaination.

It was very helpful.
21/01/2018 at 15:48

ReplyPositive Negative
00 Votes

Thanks just wanted to know what 3h signal was as not really clued up with technology.
15/02/2018 at 13:40

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