If you have a 3G phone, you may have noticed that your device is gradually losing some of its functionality. In my case (yes, I still have an old 3G model), certain apps no longer are supported. Updates no longer work. And it’s going to get worse.
Will My 3G Phone Still Work in 2022? Here’s What To Know
If a 3G phone is your main device, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) warns that you will need to upgrade it soon.
"Mobile carriers are shutting down their 3G networks, which rely on older technology, to make room for more advanced network services, including 5G," the FCC says in a news release. "As a result, many older cell phones will be unable to make or receive calls and texts, including calls to 911, or use data services."
When Will the Major Carriers Phase Out Their 3G Networks?
The major wireless carriers are moving away from the two traditional cellular technologies — CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and GMS (Global System for Mobiles) to build out their 5G networks.
If you have a 3G-supported device, the clock is ticking. Here are the deadlines you need to know from the major carriers:
"We're phasing out our 3G network in February 2022 to make room for an even better one that will improve your experience," says AT&T.
Here are the devices that will work after February 2022 on AT&T's network. If you don't see your device, AT&T says it will not work by February 2022.
You can also sign in to your account to see whether your device is affected, according to AT&T.
T-Mobile says that it's retiring its "legacy networks" to make room for more capacity on its newer ones.
“To ensure all customers can enjoy a more advanced 4G and 5G network, we will be retiring older network technologies to free up resources and spectrum that will help us strengthen our entire network, move all customers to more advanced technologies and bridge the Digital Divide. An additional part of this effort involves moving Sprint’s LTE spectrum to the T-Mobile network,” the carrier says on its website.
Here are the key dates that older devices on T-Mobile’s network will be shut down, according to the carrier:
- Sprint's older 3G (CDMA) network: March 31, 2022
- Sprint's LTE network: June 30, 2022
- T-Mobile's older 3G UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) network: July 1, 2022
T-Mobile also says that it is doing away with its older GSM 2G network but doesn’t say when that will happen.
Verizon says that the shuttering of its 3G CDMA network is expected to be completed by December 31, 2022.
The carrier says, “If you are a Verizon customer still using a device that is 3G (CDMA) or 4G that does not support HD Voice (Non-VoLTE), the device will no longer make/receive calls, send/receive text messages, or use data services. Until this date, your device will still be able to use these services.”
- Apple iPhone 5, 5C, 5S and prior versions
- Samsung Galaxy S4 and prior versions
- Apple iPad 2
If you already have a 5G-compatible phone and are wondering what to do with your older device, here are some ways you can donate it.
If it's time for you to buy a new phone, we can help. If you need a new phone, you may also want a new plan. Team Clark has researched the best phone plans on the market.
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- Here Are the Best Cheap Cell Phone Plans