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I have a Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro with Android 5.1.1 and MIUI 7.3.2.0. In my settings I have the option to choose a network type. The options are "2G", "Prefer 3G", and "Prefer LTE". I only use WiFi to connect to the internet so my mobile data is off all the time although my phone automatically turns it on while downloading/sending MMS, then turns it off again). In my APN settings I have set the APN type to "mms" to ensure that my mobile data can only be used for MMS (so only my Messaging app can use data).

Does choosing LTE only affect mobile data? I read that LTE is a faster network than 3G. Will I notice any improvements in my phone if I switch from 3G to LTE? (faster MMS download?)
Will it consume more battery?
Is my signal strength more likely to increase or decrease?

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If you keep your mobile data off, it rather depends on coverage:

  • Good 2G coverage? Use that. Your battery will last much longer.
  • Shaky 2G but stable 3G? Use 3G. Same reason: shaky coverage makes the phone permanently switch cell towers, which eats your battery.
  • 2g & 3G shaky, but stable LTE? Well, you guess it.

For a more detailed answer backed by "hard data", see 2G versus 3G: Does it really save battery? Doesn't mention LTE, but you can "extrapolate". Apart from that, with LTE in an early implementation, yur device would need to switch to 3G anyway for phone calls (that was only fixed later).

  • If I switch to 2G from 3G, will my MMS sending/receiving speed slow down noticeably? Will the audio quality of my calls decrease at all? With 3G I get 4 signal bars; with 2G I get 5 bars (max strength). Is that enough reason to switch to 2G? – Jorge Luque May 24 '16 at 20:12
  • No effect on the audio quality as far as I can tell (I didn't notice any). For MMS, I cannot say as I never sent/received any. Do you really deal with that many of them that it would matter? – Izzy May 24 '16 at 20:17
  • @Izzi I receive about 2 to 5 MMS per week so it's not a big deal. I just tested the time it takes to send MMS and it seems like 2G might be a little slower than 3G by ~3 seconds so it's not significant. My only doubt now is that I think the 2G frequency supported by both my carrier and phone is 1900Mhz and for 3G it's 850 and 1900Mhz. Since I have support for a lower 3G frequency, will I save more battery by using 850MHz 3G instead of 1900MHz 2G? – Jorge Luque May 24 '16 at 20:45
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    I very much doubt it will – but I didn't do any calculations on frequencies. Please follow up to the question I've linked: in standby, it makes not much difference. On call, 2G saves a lot. – Izzy May 24 '16 at 21:04
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Yes LTE is faster. Making the switch from 3G to LTE is a bittersweet change. now get substantially faster data speeds, but may have to keep an eye on usage to avoid overages. If you’ve signed up for a data plan that matches average monthly usage, do you really need to worry about running up your bill? While LTE has its advantages over 3G, there's a downside to faster data speeds. The first thing you may not notice, is how much more you’ll browse the Web. Because pages load faster and the connection is more reliable, you’re more likely to browse longer. That may not be the biggest factor that wastes away your limited data plan, but all that extra browsing can certainly add up throughout the month.

  • As I said in my question, I only use WiFi to connect to the internet (I don't browse the web using data). I keep my mobile data off since my plan with my carrier only allows mobile data use for MMS. If I use mobile data for something else, I will be charged extra so I keep mobile data off (my phone automatically turns it on only while it downloads/sends MMS) – Jorge Luque May 24 '16 at 16:27

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