Why some old cell phones, auto-navigation systems, home alarms may soon stop working

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If you have an old cell phone, a car with a navigation system, or a home security system, some of them might stop working this year due to the phasing out of 3G.

We’ve been talking a lot lately about mobile carriers starting to use the 5G network. To make room for that, they’re shutting down 3G this year.

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If you bought your cell phone before around 2015, or before the iPhone 6, you may not be able to text or call soon, not even 911, as carriers end 3G service.

“On T-mobile, most phones newer than 2015 should be fine. AT&T and Verizon have whitelists, specific models they support. If you’re not on the list of supported models, you risk losing voice calls,” Sascha explained. Segan, Principal Analyst for PCMag.

Here’s the timeline: AT&T is ending 3G service on February 22, T-Mobile will shut down its Sprint 3G service by March 31, and Verizon by the end of the year.

“You won’t be able to make calls. You won’t be able to send texts. You won’t be able to use data that you would use when you’re away from home,” Segan said.

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You’ll still be able to use apps on your phone when you’re on Wi-Fi, and your stored photos and phone numbers will still be there.

But it also impacts other technologies you rely on.

“It could be senior citizen alert systems, home security systems, things like vending machines or parking meters, or your car, depending on whether it’s 2G or 3G,” Segan said.

Navigation systems and voice technology could stop working in dozens of vehicles released between 2010 and 2021.

“It would certainly affect things like OnStar, where you push a button and call an operator for help. It will affect some emergency alert situations in cars or remote locators, where if the car has been stolen , you can call the company and find out where it is,” Segan added.

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Patches will usually be free software updates, but some companies may charge for new technology. AT&T says it will offer affected customers deals on new plans or free phones.

Your mobile carrier, car dealerships, or security providers should contact you. If they don’t, check their websites or call them to have your software updated.

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