(WJW) — Mobile providers are shutting down their 3G networks in 2022 to make room for more advanced network services such as 5G. That means many older cell phones won’t be able to make or receive texts and calls, even to 911.
This applies to 3G mobile phones and certain older 4G mobile phones that don’t support Voice over LTE. “Mobile carriers have the flexibility to choose the types of technologies and services they deploy, including when they decommission older services in favor of newer services to meet consumer demands,” according to the FCC.
Here is the 2022 timeline for shutdown by providers, according to the FCC:
- AT&T: February
- Verizon: Dec. 31
- T-Mobile: Multiple dates
- Sprint’s 3G CDMA network by March 31
- Sprint’s 4G LTE network by June 30
- T-Mobile 3G UMTS network by July 1
- No date announced for shutdown of 2G network
Carriers such as Cricket, Boost, and Straight Talk use these networks, too, so if you don’t see your provider listed, you could still be affected. “It is important to plan now so that you don’t lose connectivity,” the FCC said.
If you’re not sure about your cellphone, contact your mobile provider to find out if you need to upgrade your device. The change could also impact tablets, smartwatches, home security systems, and other connected products. You’ll need to contact the provider for those services as well to see if those will be affected.
To encourage customers to switch to devices that support the new technology, some mobile service providers may be offering special deals on new devices, including some that could include a free cellphone. Also, some FCC programs may be able to help eligible customers with phone or internet service costs, though the agency does not cover the cost of new devices.