All US 3G’s networks will close in 2022. This could affect your AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon phone, home alarm, or car. What’s happening and what to expect?
When will 3G end?
AT&T turned off 3G on Feb. 22, 2022.
Dish has never used 3G; only 5G.
Boost’s Sprint 3G network shuts down on May 31, 2022.
T-3G Mobile’s network will shut down on July 1, 2022, although its 2G network will remain.
US Cellular will be the “last large carrier(Opens in a new window)” to end 3G. That probably indicates 2023 or 2024.
Verizon’s 3G network will end in 2022.
If the shutdown affects you, the carriers will likely offer you a free 4G or 5G phone. If you’re using a hand-me-down phone, your carrier may not have a current ownership record.
More From Us:You Can’t Get the Moto Razr 2022
9% of US wireless connections are 2G or 3G, according to CTIA. Phones, tablets, home alarms, medical alert devices, automobiles, and other gear.
iPhone 6 and later are good, as are Galaxy S5 and later phones. After 2014, smartphones and flip phones should still work.
Gray-market electronics, including overseas models of popular Samsung phones, are being blocked. See why your AT&T phone may stop operating for more information.
If your phone doesn’t say “4G LTE” or “5G” after Wi-Fi is off, it’s probably a 3G phone and won’t work afterward. AT&T issued a list of phones that still work. For other carriers, check the status bar.
Wi-Fi-enabled phones and tablets will still work. Any Apple device with Wi-Fi may use iMessage and FaceTime with your Apple ID.
Other devices will shut down. Older Kindle ebook readers and smartwatches will be Wi-Fi-only. The home alarm business has protested the shutdown the most. ADT has switched to 4G, but other carriers may be lagging. Ask your provider if you need ADT if you don’t have it. If so, the company must replace your main alarm box. Medical alert devices may be affected. Again, contact the medical device company.
Cars are tricky. The shutdown won’t effect driving, but it could affect remote start, remote location, integrated navigation, and OnStar-like services. The Drive covers affected automobile models and what manufacturers have promised to doing.
Can I Still Get a Flip Phone?
Most affected folks have hand-me-down smartphones or flip phones. Every carrier sells unlocked 4G voice phones. The phones range from basic to elegant. Recent reviews:
Sunbeam F1, Verizon’s Editors’ Choice
Nokia’s cheap 225 4G
Nokia 6300 4G’s dual-SIM versatility
Sonim XP3plus is super-tough
Kyocera DuraXE Epic
Why is 3G disappearing?
Old 3G networks. Sprint and Verizon’s 3G is an upgrade to 2G, hence their networks are from 1995-1996. In 2006-2007, AT&T and T-Mobile launched 3G. (Read my 2006 3G review)
The FCC licences airwaves to carriers at a premium. 3G is less efficient than 4G or 5G because it requires less computing power. 5G is 23x more spectrally efficient than 2G, meaning each hertz of airwaves can accommodate 23 times as many users.
AT&T says using 3G airwaves only for 3G is a problem. In an FCC filing, the company said it used 10MHz of 850MHz spectrum for 3G subscribers. At any one time, just 4% of such capacity was in use, leaving 96% unused. Many more devices will use 4G and 5G airwaves.
Will this only annoy me?
People who use older 3G’s networks phones aren’t interested in wireless data connections, so talking about how they’ll get faster frequently leads to complaints about TikTok. Even the most grumpy will benefit from the adjustment.
4G uses more powerful audio codecs than 3G, improving voice call quality. How to improve cell phone calls has additional information.
Using low-band 3G channels for 5G is also essential to carriers’ aspirations to offer cheaper home internet in rural and suburban regions. Due of their reach, 3G uplink channels can help enhance 5G downlink channels’ range.
You lose 3G now, and wireless home internet may not arrive for a while. That’s the plan.
2G/3G’s networks ? Whoa!
These network shutdowns last months. It’s not instantaneous. The cutoff date is when the networks stop working.
T-Mobile will still run a 2G network, and rural operators will for variable durations of time. Appalachian Wireless in Kentucky will end 3G by 2022. Cellcom says it will remove 3G’s networks “at some point,” while C Spire is similarly unclear. West Central Wireless in Texas has no information online.
Depending on where you go and your plan’s roaming, you may still connect to 2G or 3G’s networks. These systems won’t be nationwide networks like in the past.
T-largest Mobile’s 2G network supports machine-to-machine devices including parking metres, vending machines, and asset trackers, not voice phones. As a consumer cell phone system, it’s unreliable.
T-Mobile will keep running its 2G network for a time, but it’s not a strong network and is hard to use.