The future is already here. With electric vehicles, 3D printers, incredible advances in A.I, and private billionaires launching themselves into outer space, there’s no doubt that we live in the most advanced time in history, at least for now. With the constant evolutions in the world of science and technology, though, older technologies sometimes have to be phased out. By the end of 2022, the 3G network that powered an older generation of phones and devices will be completely and totally phased out.
There are a number of reasons that old technologies are pushed to the wayside. Most often, it’s to make room for newer technologies. This just so happens to be the case with the 3G network shutdown. With the rapid advancements in mobile technology over the past few years, the 5G network is all the rave. The infrastructure space made available through the phasing out of the 3G network will be used to further improve the 5G network. The 5G network is all the rave right now, as the newest and highest speed network available, until the next iteration is released.
If your phone is 3G-only, you’ll want to make the appropriate arrangements prior to the 3G shutdown. This is vital because phones and other devices that operate on the 3G network will cease to function entirely. This includes emergency calls placed to 911. As such, it’s vital that the appropriate updates or upgrades are made in a timely manner.
The 3G Shutdown Timetable
The 3G network will be all but evaporated by the end of 2022. However, the exact date of the shutdown varies from provider to provider. For instance, AT&T phased out their 3G network earlier this year in February, 2022. This means that any AT&T consumer using a 3G phone has lost service if they didn’t make their upgrade in time. Not only that, but 3rd party carriers that use AT&T networks have also lost access to the 3G network back in February.
AT&T and other mobile service providers have information on what to do if you have a 3G only phone, and how to upgrade so you don’t lose service.
Other service providers like Verizon are planning to shut down their 3G services by December 31, 2022, while T-Mobile is shutting down their 3G UMTS network by July 1, 2022. Regardless of which carrier you have your phone plan with, if you’re using a device that relies on the 3G network, it’s time to set a plan in motion.
Software Updates And New SIMS
Some phone carriers have already taken action on behalf of their consumers relying on a 3G network. Because this network serves an older generation of hardware, there are other technological updates that the users may be missing out on. SIM cards, for example, have changed drastically over the years. As such, many 3G-reliant devices are using SIM cards that are not VoLTE compatible. This is a very important feature that the device and SIM card need in order to make the transition to a 4G or higher network.
Some companies have mailed new SIM cards to their consumers currently using 3G-only devices. In this case, if the device itself is 4G compatible, the new SIM card and a software update may be all you need to keep your service rocking and rolling.
If a software update and a SIM card aren’t enough to get your phone onto the 4G network, though, you may need to look into a total and complete upgrade. Luckily, because the phone carriers know they’re impacting a strong portion of their consumers with this transition, they’re also offering generous deals on upgrades to affected consumers.
There are other programs that can assist qualifying low-income households with the financial aspect of phone plans like the Lifeline Program and the Broadband Benefit Program.
Other Devices That the 3G Shutdown Could Impact
There are a handful of other devices that will be impacted by the 3G shutdown like tablets, smartwatches, medical devices, and certain home security systems. If you’re using any of these on a regular basis, think about when you got the technology and how long it’s been. If there’s a chance you’re using any device that relies on a 3G network, it’s urgent you replace it swiftly.
Phone service providers are focused on moving forward, continually innovating, and always providing better and better service. In this pursuit, old technology often becomes obsolete. The 3G network has become obsolete in today’s marketplace and companies are looking to use that space to bolster their 5G networks through additional infrastructure.
The mobile phone industry is advancing at an incredible rate in the grand scheme of things, and it won’t be long before we’re talking about the release of the first 6G network, and all of the implications it will bring about. But for now, make sure you upgrade or update any devices reliant on the 3G network, as it will soon no longer be.