Technically, after 3G shuts down, data-only devices will work if they support 4G LTE or 5G and higher speeds. (Credit: Alexander Yakimov | Dreamstime.com)
It’s written on the digital wall: Most major telecommunications companies are phasing out 3G networks by February 2022. Network providers are cutting 3G to reuse finite spectrum or Federal Communications Commission allocated airwaves to send wireless signals.
This means cell phones that rely solely on a 3G connection are more likely to find themselves relegated to the slower 2G network that remains active as a functional fallback.
Technically, after 3G shuts down, data-only devices will work if they support 4G LTE or 5G and higher speeds.
Yet, in practice, these constant technological developments affect users’ budgets. Let’s see how it started.
RETURN — In the early 1980s, the first wave of wireless telephony standards was launched. This innovative technology has been dubbed 1G, capable of handling audio transmissions over the air. But it was an analog technology that became obsolete in 1991. Then came 2G. Soon 3G would overtake it as early as 2001, more than tripling data transfer speeds, later surpassed by the widely adopted 4G network.
Inevitably, the three major US cellphone providers are all phasing out their inferior networks to expand broadband coverage sooner or later.
VERIZON — Verizon’s 3G network shutdown plans have been repeatedly “put on hold,” according to The Verge.com. At this point, their 3G network is now maintained indefinitely.
As of 2018, the company no longer allows customers to activate new 3G phones on its network or offer prepaid 3G service.
AT&T — He clarified that they intend to take their 3G network off the market by early 2022. Unlike Verizon, their projected plans have remained consistent so far. It’s worth mentioning that your phone must also be compatible with their HD Voice service.
T-MOBILE – January 2021 set the initial shutdown date for T-Mobile’s (merged with Sprint) 3G UMTS network. However, it is now scheduled for February 2022. This coincides with AT&T’s 3G deactivation plans. However, T-Mobile has explicitly mentioned that its 2G network will also stop working in December 2022.
A SERVICE — Essentially, the new 4G network will continue to exist for a long time, and most consumer smartphones are already designed to support 4G data transmission standards.
But… what can you do to avoid a service interruption?
If you choose not to search for a suitable cell phone upgrade, service may be interrupted at inconvenient times. If a user decides to acquire a new mobile phone independently, he will have to pay special attention to the band compatibility of the device.
Consulting a carrier is the best way to find out.
ELDERS — As carriers strive to usher in the next era of wireless, millions of people, including many seniors, still rely on phones and other devices that harness 3G, including the ability to call 911.
When the 3G network shuts down in February, customers still accessing the 3G network will experience degradation or total loss of service. Even if seniors go to another discount cell service provider, they need to understand that it won’t help them because these companies piggyback on the carriers’ main networks.
Estimates suggest that up to 10 million elderly cellphone subscribers in the United States and Puerto Rico who have older devices (from 2012 or earlier) need to be upgraded as carriers adjust their signals .
DEVICES — The discontinuation of 3G will also impact medical devices, tablets, smartwatches, in-vehicle SOS services, Kindle readers and some home security products. This prompted the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) to file a petition with the FCC to delay the 3G shutdown. He is still pending. At least until the end of 2022, those with 3G-connected alarm monitoring and emergency response systems should look for alternatives.