Old cell phone? End of 3G means you’ll likely have to upgrade soon

If your mobile phone is more than a few years old, you will soon need to upgrade your device.

Mobile carriers are set to shut down their existing 3G networks, which rely on older technology, to make way for more advanced services such as 5G, according to the Federal Communications Commission.  The move away from 3G frees up network frequencies for faster services but also means many older cell phones will be unable to make or receive calls and texts, including calls to 911, or use data services.

3G mobile phones and certain older 4G mobile phones that do not support Voice over LTE services will be impacted. Some medical devices, tablets, smart watches, vehicle SOS services, home security systems and other connected products using 3G network services will also need to be upgraded.

Companies are expected to shut down their 3G networks at various times in the next year. T-Mobile announced it will finish shutting down Sprint’s 3G network by Jan. 1, 2022 and Sprint’s LTE network by June 30, 2022. It also plans to shut down T-Mobile’s 2G and 3G networks but has not announced a date. AT&T will shut down its network by February 2022 and Verizon by Dec. 31, 2022. Other mobile carriers such as Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk and several Lifeline mobile service providers that utilize AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile’s networks will also be making the change.

The FCC recommends people with older devices contact their provider to get specifics of their plan and make a switch to a newer device.