NJ’s 3G Cell Phones and Medical Devices Will Soon Stop Calling 911

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NEW JERSEY – Cell phones and medical devices using 3G networks in New Jersey will soon be unable to make calls or access the Internet, as major US carriers prepare to shut down their old 3G networks this year.

This means that some devices will not be able to make emergency calls to 9-1-1.

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon have announced that they will discontinue 3G service in favor of 4G (LTE) and 5G services in 2022.

The shutdown will also impact tablets, smartwatches, in-vehicle SOS services, home security systems and other connected products that may use 3G network services. Older 4G phones that do not support Voice over LTE may also be affected.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommends customers with phones older than the iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy S4 contact their carrier to see if they will be affected by the shutdown. Some 4G mobile phones that do not support voice over LTE could also be impacted by the shutdown, which is already underway.

Here is the shutdown schedule for each of the major mobile carriers:

  • AT&T: By the end of February
  • Sprint: End of March
  • T Mobile: Before July 1
  • Verizon: By the end of 2022.

Sprint is also shutting down its 4G network by the end of June.

Smaller wireless carriers – like Boost, Cricket, Straight Talk and Lifeline – use the networks of larger carriers. Customers should contact their carriers for specific dates of the shutdown and whether it will affect their phone.

Why are operators getting rid of 3G networks? According to the FCC, they periodically shut down old services, such as 3G, to free up spectrum and infrastructure for new services, such as 5G. In the past, carriers also got rid of 2G networks when they upgraded their networks to support 4G.

There are a few resources available for those who need help staying connected:

  • FCC Lifeline Program: Low-income consumers may qualify for a discount on phone service. More information about the program is available here.
  • FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program: This program provides a temporary discount of up to $50 per month on broadband service for eligible households during the COVID-19 pandemic. More information here.

See more information about the stop here.

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