The first 3G networks began in the age of wireless data two decades ago, when most phones could only make calls. They let us to run apps on our phones, combine GPS systems with our vehicles, and perform a variety of other chores while on the move. However, when carriers migrated to 4G LTE networks and then to 5G, 3G will be phased out completely this year. As a result, some products and services will be rendered inoperable.
AT&T was the first of the three major carriers to turn off its 3G service on February 22nd. T-Mobile will be next on March 31, followed by Verizon on December 31.
Several factors influence how the shutdowns will effect you. You should be fine if you have a phone that was released before 2015. If you’re unsure, each carrier maintains a comprehensive list of devices that will work on their current network. If you’re affected, your carrier should have informed you by now (a process that started years ago) and offered to replace old devices with new ones that link to 4G LTE networks.
According to Roger Entner of Recon Analytics, the number of people who use 3G-only phones now is in the hundreds of thousands. Many people who are affected, he believes, haven’t upgraded their 3G phones because they forgot or keep an old phone stowed in their glove box for emergencies.
If you’re a member of that group, you’ll need to take action. When 3G goes away for real, older devices that haven’t been upgraded to 4G LTE or 5G will become practically worthless: they’ll still turn on, but they won’t be able to connect to a network. It won’t simply be phones that are affected. Auto navigation systems, alarm systems, early e-readers, and other internet of things (IoT) devices that rely on 3G networks would be affected by the outages.
What should you do if your phone is afflicted by the 3G network outage?
If you have a 3G-only phone or gadget that is going to lose connectivity, the best approach to avoid the problem is to switch to a newer device, as recommended by the Federal Communications Commission.
This may necessitate the purchase of a new phone capable of connecting to 4G LTE and 5G networks. Don’t worry; if you’ve hooked up with a major carrier, you’ll most likely be eligible for incentive schemes that will pay some or all of the costs of upgrading to a new device. If you qualify, the FCC’s Lifeline programme may be able to help you save money on your phone subscription. You also don’t need to invest in a high-end phone. Carriers sell a variety of devices that connect to contemporary networks, including old-school flip phones.
If you don’t want to upgrade your device but still want to use your phone service, contact your carrier and terminate the line linked with it to avoid paying for a phone line you don’t use.
Alarm systems, solar panels, and auto navigation systems are all examples of 3G-only non-phone equipment that may lose service.
When will AT&T’s 3G network be turned off?
On February 22, AT&T’s 3G network was turned off. AT&T will not work with phones or devices that do not allow Voice over LTE and connect to 4G LTE networks.
Subscribers who have a monthly or prepaid contract can update their phone by moving their SIM card to a new device and following the steps on AT&T’s help page.
Customers who don’t upgrade to AT&T’s 4G network will still be able to access data if they agree to pay roaming fees while on rival T-network. Mobile’s
On December 31, Verizon’s 3G CDMA network will be shut down.
The carrier has stated that it will discontinue its 3G operations in 2016. After multiple iterations of defining and modifying end dates, the airline has decided to discontinue its operation at the end of this year. Verizon must support 3G service for OnStar auto navigation till 2022, so this is later than other carriers, according to Recon’s Entner.
3G basic phones and smartphones, as well as 4G phones that don’t support HD Voice, are among the devices that won’t work on Verizon’s 4G LTE and 5G networks (VoLTE). The iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S5, and Apple iPad 3 are among the devices that can connect to its network. Customers with 3G-only phones and gadgets can check their upgrade eligibility and new phone discounts by logging into their Verizon account.