Major Mobile Carriers Soon Plan to Shut Down Their 3G Networks, Rendering Old Phones Useless

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Do you have a 3G phone? You better get your upgrade in. Come the new year, many 3G networks will be getting shut down, meaning that you’ll no longer be able to use your phone. Even some 4G phones may stop working when 3G goes away.

So what exactly does that mean for your phone? You won’t be able to use it at all. Data services will no longer be available, and nope—you won’t even be able to call 9-1-1 if you needed to. So your phone is going to basically become a new paperweight for your desk.

The reason mobile carriers are retiring the 3G network is so that faster phones, like 5G, can thrive.

Here are the mobile carriers and their expected date to retire their 3G networks:

T-Mobile (which merged with Sprint)’s 3G network: March 31, 2022

Sprint’s 4G LTE network: June 30, 2022

T-Mobile’s 3G network: July 1, 2022

Verizon’s 3G network: December 31, 2022

Additionally, any carriers that use AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon networks, such as Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk, and some Lifeline, are also going to be affected by the 3G removal.

Many providers will give you a trade-in offer to upgrade your phone at a discount or even no cost. Check your account or call your carrier to see what you may be eligible for if you still have a 3G network. You’ll also want to get rid of any medical devices, tablets, smartwatches, vehicle SOS services, home security systems, and other connected products that are using the 3G network, as they will stop working, too.

Retiring the 3G network probably doesn’t come as a shock—Verizon originally announced that they were going to shut theirs down in 2019 but then decided to give customers a chance to transition to newer devices. Only about 1% of Verizon customers use 3G, which 99% on 4G or 5G.

The 5G in 5G network stands for the fifth generation of mobile communications. “This next generation of technology promises consumers faster data rates with lower latency, or delays, in transmitting data,” the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said in a statement. “It also promises more capacity for a more efficient network. 5G is being designed with flexibility in mind, to support future services and applications that may not even exist today.”

Do you or anyone you know still own a phone that’s run by the 3G network? Be sure to share this article with anyone who does so that they know to take advantage of an upgrade!