Are Carriers Working To Hide Signal Strength?
It appears that at least one carrier is working with Google to provide the ability to hide signal strength from Android customers. The news comes from the discovery of a number of new software commits in the Android source code, which imply that the change could be coming in the next version of Android, likely to be Android 9.0 “P,” expected in the fourth quarter of 2018. And I cannot think of a legitimate, beneficial reason for customers as to why carriers might want to hide the underlying signal strength – but I can think of a few reasons why carriers might want to hide the signal indicator, especially if the signal is poor.
Unfortunately, for many Android customers, carriers still have a significant impact on how our devices perform. Carriers often have considerable sway over the software that goes onto our devices, as carriers “optimise” the software of the devices. By “optimise,” this often means adding their software bloat into the software build, so any optimisation isn’t for the benefit of the customer. Perhaps carriers are seeking to remove the signal information from within the Settings menu. This information is useful as it shows you the raw signal data rather than the signal meter’s interpretation of the quality of coverage. The information displayed at the top of your screen usually does not directly correspond to the signal as measured by the device – but you can see the signal strength measured in dBa buried in Settings, Status, and SIM Status on most devices.
For most customers, removing this function from the device won’t make much of a difference. However, for those customers interested in the goings-on of their device, or who are trying to compare different carriers, this information can be useful. A better quality signal results in a better quality connection and longer battery life, and sometimes two carriers seem to show a similar signal strength on the top of the display but there’s a wide difference in reported signal strength in the settings. The changes in Android’s software shows that the option to show signal strength could be removed from the settings menu.
Weirdly enough, this change in Android P does not change how applications that request the signal strength through a standard Android API. This means that applications to check the signal strength would still work; if a customer wanted the information, it’s available, but it needs a third party application and will take longer (assuming that this feature is still available by the time Android P is released to carrier-customised devices). Perhaps the carriers are hiding the information because they want to avoid confusing customers with another way to assess the signal? Or perhaps to prevent customers from comparing coverage between different carriers? We’ve no way of knowing what carriers have requested the change and even if we did, I am not convinced an answer from a carrier would be sensible.
SOURCE [XDA Developers]