The chances are that you and your loved ones are not on a 3G network considering it was released in the early 2000s. However, it is important to note that The Federal Communications Commission announced that mobile carriers have started phasing out their 3G networks as it will become obsolete. As mobile carriers seek to upgrade their networks to use the latest technologies, they periodically shut down older services, such as 3G, to free up spectrum and infrastructure to support new services, such as 5G. Plans and timing to phase out 3G services will vary by company, so it’s important to consult your mobile provider for the most up-to-date information. 3G won’t be the only system impacted. Some older 4G systems won’t work either. Many phones will no longer be able to send or receive calls and texts. It is crucial to plan now so that you don't lose connectivity, including the ability to call 911.
The below dates have been released by major mobile providers for when the phasing out will be complete
- AT&T 3G: Feb. 22nd, 2022
- Sprint 3G (T-Mobile): March 31st, 2022
- Sprint LTE (T-Mobile): June 30th, 2022
- T-Mobile 3G: July 1st, 2022
- Verizon 3G: Dec. 31st, 2022
Note: These are dates for completing the shutdowns. Carriers may begin retiring parts of their networks sooner and they have advised that the dates could change.
If your mobile carrier is not listed here, you may still be affected. Many carriers, such as Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk, and several Lifeline mobile service providers, utilize AT&T's, Verizon's, and T-Mobile's networks.
Does this just impact phones? – No! Other devices, such as certain medical devices, GPS in your car, tablets, smart watches, vehicle SOS services, home security systems, and other connected products that may be using 3G network services will be affected. Don't forget about devices that use cellular connectivity as a back-up when a wired internet connection goes down. If the device is not labeled, contact the monitoring company or other service provider to confirm how the device connects and whether your device may be impacted. To be specific, the switch will impact any device that uses cellular data to communicate.