What’s happening and why?
As companies expand 5G service and networks, they are phasing out the networks serving 3G, which have been around since 2002. Ending 3G will open more airwaves to the faster, more reliable 5G networks. This is not the first time this has happened. When LTE/4G became available in 2009, companies ended 2G.
A recording of the live discussion about the phasing out of 3G with AARP and the Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC) can be viewed on our Senior Planet YouTube channel.
What devices are affected?
Mobile phones from 2012 or earlier (including flip phones, pre-2012 smartphones), older home security systems, smartwatches, medical devices, and medical alert bracelets. Any device that relies on 3G or old LTE/4G networks that do not support HD voice to make calls or connect to others. There’s no master list, but some examples of phones that will stop working include the Apple iPhone 5 or earlier and the Samsung Galaxy S4 or earlier.
When is this happening?
The short of the long of it: now. Companies have already started to roll back service on 3G networks. Smaller carriers, such as Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk, and several Lifeline mobile service providers, utilize the major companies’ networks.
Dates that major phone companies will completely shut off their 3G networks:
- AT&T: February 2022
- Sprint 3G: March 31, 2022
- Sprint LTE: June 30, 2022
- T-Mobile 3G: July 1, 2022
- Verizon: December 31, 2022
Who do I contact?
- Reach out to your phone or other company for more information.
- Ask about upgrading your device to a newer one that supports 4G/LTE and/or 5G.
Where do I find more info?
- AARP article (from Oct 2021, also available in Spanish)
- FCC article (available in several languages!)
We are looking for seniors who are willing to speak to the media about their experience with 3G. Did you recently discover that you have a 3G device? Are you still unsure? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to lend your voice to the conversation!
Questions? Call our dedicated help hotline: 888-713-3495
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