3G network technology has been around in the United States for two decades. Verizon launched the country`s first 3G network in 2002, and 4G has been around since 2010. In 2019, carriers slowly began to expand 5G networks and soon large companies launched 5G smartphones. Now they need to focus their resources on expanding these new networks while saving money on maintaining the older ones. Just because you own a smartphone with the 4G label doesn`t mean it will work. At first, the 4G designation referred to pure data network services such as photo sharing, social media, internet browsing, etc. But those 4G phones have fallen back on older network technology standards for voice calls, Fogg says. It wasn`t until VoLTE (Voice over Long Term Evolution) or HD Voice arrived that 4G also played a role in the calls. If you are part of this group, you must act. Older devices that are not migrated to 4G LTE or 5G become functionally useless if 3G disappears forever: they still turn on but cannot connect to a network.
And it`s not just phones that will be affected. The shutdowns will also affect technologies such as automatic navigation systems, alarm systems, early e-readers and other Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets that have relied on 3G networks for data. AT&T has a list of devices compatible with its network, with newer phones than the iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Motorola G6 Play, Google Pixel 2, LG V10, LG G3 Vigor, Nokia G10, OnePlus 6T and Sony Xperia 1. The list also contains tablets, newer than the iPad 3, Lenovo Moto Tab, Microsoft Surface 3 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. iPhones older than iPhone 6 no longer work for calls and data, including iPhone 5, 5C, and 5S. If you have a Samsung Galaxy S4 or older, this is a 3G device, but newer models may still need an update to work. If you have other devices that aren`t mentioned here, visit your carrier or the manufacturer`s website to look for a list of supported phones. Dozens of mobile phones are available for purchase, from affordable entry-level phones to the latest flagships, including a wide range of Android phones and the latest iPhones.
Customers whose phones only work on Sprint`s 3G CDMA network can upgrade to a new 5G handset for free with special offers that can be verified after logging in. Those using T-Mobile`s 3G network, which includes GSM phone owners and AT&T roaming people mentioned above, will be supported until it is discontinued on July 1, according to a T-Mobile support page. David Lumb is a mobile journalist who explains how mobile gadgets like phones, tablets and smartwatches are changing our lives. Over the past decade, he has reviewed phones for TechRadar and covered technology, games, and culture for Engadget, Popular Mechanics, NBC Asian America, Increment, Fast Company, and others. A true Californian, he lives for coffee, beaches and burritos. Subscribers can update their phone, whether they have a monthly or prepaid contract, by transferring their SIM card to a new device and following the instructions on AT&T`s support page. By the time 4G arrived, operators brought 2G to pasture – well, most of them. T-Mobile says it still has remnants of its old 2G network that it will shut down indefinitely.
In the heyday of 3G, phones could have a wider range of services by using a 2G network wherever coverage was uneven. This can mean buying a new phone that connects to 4G LTE and 5G networks. Don`t worry, if you`ve signed up with a large carrier, they probably have incentive programs that cover some or all of the costs of upgrading to a new device. And if you qualify, the FCC`s Lifeline program could reduce your phone service. You also don`t need to buy a fancy phone. Operators sell a range of devices, including old-school flip phones that connect to modern networks. If you have a device from 2012 or earlier, your phone`s calling feature is on the borrowed time, although other features may still work. Not only flip phones and functional phones are affected. Some of the first smartphones can also be affected, and you can`t always tell by the name that marketers use. Three has great deals on the latest 4G and 5G mobile phones. Prices are constantly updated to get the cheapest deals on the latest smartphones, including the best phones like Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy devices, all of which are unlocked. The abandonment of 3G doesn`t just affect phones.
Some home security systems, in-car SOS services, Kindle readers, medical devices, smart watches, tablets, and other devices also depended on 3G. Are you still using a 3G phone because you didn`t want to switch to a smartphone? Or does the shutdown affect someone in your life who you think is struggling with a new device? The good news is that there are many new flip phones (also known as functional phones) that work perfectly on next-generation networks. This has only been the norm for these devices for two to three years, so be sure to buy a new device or check network compatibility carefully. Two decades ago, when most phones were just making calls, the first 3G networks ushered in the era of wireless data. They have made it possible to use apps on our phones, integrate GPS systems into our cars, and perform many other tasks on the go. But as operators have switched to 4G LTE networks and now 5G, they are finally shutting down 3G this year. As a result, some devices and services lose service. Customers who ignore the call for change will completely lose cellular service, including the ability to call 911 when their company ends 3G. Most 3G phones on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks can`t use Verizon`s service. Customers who upgrade are likely to face larger monthly bills in exchange for the new service. Network operators say they alerted customers using older phones that services are ending and sent a combination of SMS, letters, phone calls, and emails.
If you have a service plan and haven`t heard from your carrier yet, everything should be fine, but you can log into your account to verify it. If you`re still not sure or have questions about an older device that isn`t in a cellular plan, there are several ways to check it out. Verizon has a list of devices that don`t work on its 4G LTE and 5G networks, such as 3G base phones and smartphones, as well as 4G phones that don`t support HD Voice (VoLTE). Network-enabled devices include iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S5, and Apple iPad 3. Customers with phones and 3G devices only can sign in to their Verizon account to see their upgrade eligibility and offers for new phones. Most carriers offer free, low-cost replacement phones to customers with 3G devices, although exact offers vary. For example, AT&T`s free phone options depend on what`s in stock and similar to your current device. If you`re worried about having to familiarize yourself with a new device, look for something that runs the same operating system from the same manufacturer. If you`re ready for a major upgrade, check to see if your carrier offers deals or discounts on the latest smartphones. (Some older phones may continue to work on both 4G and 5G networks with a software update and a new SIM card from your carrier.) Most people don`t have to worry. The vast majority of phones used are already in 4G and 5G networks. According to mobile industry group GSMA Intelligence, in 2020, only 4% of all connections in the US were above 3G.
All major wireless carriers — AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile — plan to shut down their old 3G networks in 2022. Like millions of people in the U.S. who use 3G phones and other 3G devices, she needs to buy a new device if she wants to text, make calls, or even reach 911. Pay As You Go is just that, paying for the minutes, texts, and dates you need, and topping up when you run out of credit. Unlike monthly payment plans, there is no set contract term or monthly bill that you only pay for what you need when you need it. Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics, said the number of people using only 3G phones today is low, only in the hundreds of thousands.