To make room for faster 5G networks, AT&T is taking the first step to end 3G services on Tuesday.
This means older devices like smartphones and home security systems may no longer work. Anticipating this change, AT&T has been providing free replacement phones to users with a 3G device.
“For nearly two years, we’ve proactively sent numerous communications via direct mail, bill messaging, emails and text messages to help customers transition to next-generation networks before 3G services end on February 22,” AT&T told CNN Business in a statement.
Here is everything you need to know about the 3G shutdowns.
When will AT&T shut down 3G? What about other carriers?
AT&T will shut down its 3G networks on Tuesday, Feb, 22.
According to CNN Business, other U.S. carriers are also expected to follow suit — T-Mobile shutting down its 3G network by July 1, 2022, and Verizon by Dec. 31, 2022.
What phones will be impacted?
3G flip phones, any iPhone 5 and older as well as some Android devices will be affected. AT&T has created a webpage to determine whether your device will be impacted or not.
Check the phone’s setting to determine whether it requires a software update or needs to be replaced.
What other devices will be affected?
Kindles, vehicles SOS services, home alarms, medical alert devices, smartwatches and any other item that relies on a 3G network will be affected. Some devices may simply require a software update, according to USA Today.
Drivers who rely on Apple CarPlay or Android Auto don’t need to worry since those devices use a phone’s 4G, LTE or 5G network.
According to NBC News, users are advised to refer to a product’s manual or contact the manufacturer.
Why is this happening?
It's been 20 years since the 3G Network first launched, paving the way for 4G and, the more recent, 5G network.
With the dawn of 5G, the internet will move one step closer to more advanced technologies due to much faster speeds. To make room for more 5G networks to work unaffected, the 3G networks will need to be shut down, per Vox.