Mobile carriers are shutting down their 3G wireless networks to make room for new technology, but this change can have a big impact for anyone on older devices.
Starting in 2022, companies like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile will phase out the older wireless network to accommodate expansion of 5G and other emerging technologies. This means that consumers with older phone models may lose the ability to call and text on their phone, according to the FCC.
This means that affected devices won’t be able to dial 911 if they don’t make necessary upgrades or replacements.
The change will affect all 3G mobile phones and 4G mobile phones that don’t have Voice Over LTE functionality, also known as HD Voice.
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Mobile phones are not the only devices affected by the change. The FCC said that devices like home security systems, fire alarms, medical devices and SOS systems in cars might be affected.
This shutdown is not happening all at once across all carriers. T-Mobile will be shutting down Sprint’s 3G network by January, 1, 2022, AT&T will shut down their network by February, 2022 and Verizon plans to shut down theirs be December, 31, 2022.
This transition might be costly for anyone who needs to upgrade their devices. The FCC’s Lifeline program offers discounts to qualifying low-income consumers. The FCC said that mobile service providers may also offer special deals on new devices.