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Phone companies to phase out 3G in 2022 – what you need to know

Cellphone companies are shutting down their 3G networks over the next several months. As a result, many older cellphones will not be able to make or receive calls or texts, including dialing 911. If you have a 3G phone, you may need to replace your device. 

The phase-out will start as early as Jan. 1, 2022, though plans and timing to phase out 3G services will vary by company and may change, the FCC said. Consult your mobile provider’s website for the most up-to-date information.

  • AT&T announced that it will finish shutting down its 3G network by February 2022.
  • Verizon will wrap up its 3G network shutdown by December 31, 2022.
  • T-Mobile announced that it will complete the shutdown of Sprint’s 3G network by March 31, 2022 and Sprint’s 4G LTE network by June 30, 2022. It also announced it will shut down T-Mobile’s 3G network by July 1, 2022.

If your mobile carrier is not listed here, you may still be affected. Other carriers such as Cricket, Boost and Straight Talk utilize these networks.

3G is the third generation of wireless mobile technology that allows mobile phones to connect to the internet. Each new generation has new frequency bands and higher data transmission rates. Most phones now use 4G and 5G.

This switch will affect 3G mobile phones and certain older 4G mobile phones that do not support Voice Over LTE or HD Voice. This could potentially impact other devices that also rely on 3G networks, such as medical devices, tablets, smart watches and home security systems. If you do not replace or upgrade your device, your device will not function. 

If you have a 3G device, don’t panic, but don’t procrastinate. Contact your carrier about getting a newer version of the device or a software upgrade. If you are unsure if your device uses 3G networks, check the device’s user manual, consult the network settings on your device or contact the company.