Tech terms explained: What is… the E signal on my phone?

Stop guessing what those signal icons on your smartphone mean. Find out what the different data strengths really are…

In the ever-changing world of high-tech gadgets and gizmos, a whole load of jargon is thrown our way that many of us don’t necessarily understand.

In our regular series, What is…, we’ll tackle a tech term and explain what it means, so you can understand it a bit more.

[Read more: How to boost your mobile phone signal]

Here we explain one of the signal icons that baffle many people on their phones… E.

What is the E signal?

E stands for Edge or eGPRS (Enhanced Global Packet Radio Services).

In this day and age, E is one of the weakest data signals you can get on your phone: E came at the latter end of 2G, making it slower than 3G but faster than GPRS.

E uses an older infrastructure, so whenever you’re in an area where you can only get E you can expect things like to be much slower. If the signal bars are low, you may struggle to load anything at all and there’s no point attempting to watch a YouTube video.

Fortunately now that more areas in the UK can get fast 4G, you are less likely to see the ‘E’ on your phone.

What other mobile signal symbols are there?

Over the years there have been various types of mobile connectivity, going back to the 1G networks of the early days. 2G went through several stages which included (but was not limited to) GPRS and then E. 3G is widely adopted and many of us are now moving onto 4G.

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