NATIONWIDE – Verizon finished shutting down its 3G network, Dec. 31, 2022, in efforts to make room for 5G. 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.
5G 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.
“Initially, we announced we would close down our 3G network in 2019. However, we extended our shut off date to the end of 2022 in order to care for our customers and give them every effort to minimize disruptions to their service as they moved to newer and more advanced technologies,” stated Verizon in an updated news release.
Not only does 5G technology promise faster speeds, but also a more unified system for Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things expansion.
This next generation technology will usher in new uses like telemedicine and virtual reality.
The 3G phase out not only renders 3G and certain older 4G mobile phones that do not support Voice over LTE (VoLTE or HD Voice) obsolete, but connected devices as well.
Certain medical devices, tablets, smart watches, vehicle SOS services, home security systems, and other connected products that may be using 3G network services will be impacted.
Other service providers
Other service providers have already shut down their 3G service.
AT&T phased out its 3G network beginning in February 2022.
T-Mobile finished shutting down its 3G UMTS network as of July 1, 2022. They also phased out Sprint’s 3G CDMA network as of March 31, 2022 and Sprint’s 4G LTE network as of June 30, 2022.
Mobile carriers not listed may still be affected.
Many carriers, such as Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk, and several Lifeline mobile service providers, utilize AT&T’s, Verizon’s, and T-Mobile’s networks. In addition, international visitors to the United States with 3G phones will be affected.
Consumers are encouraged to contact their mobile provider or consult the provider’s website for more information about their 3G retirement plan and whether their phone, or other connected device may be affected.
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Some carrier websites provide lists of devices that will no longer be supported. Consumers may need to upgrade to a newer device to ensure that they can stay connected, and carriers may be offering discounted or free upgrades to help consumers who need to upgrade their phones.
Some devices may only require a software update to enable VoLTE (HD Voice) or other advanced services.
Consumers who purchased phones independent of a mobile provider, should be able to check whether the device is 4G LTE (with VoLTE or HD Voice) enabled in the phone’s settings or user manual. Consumers can also search the phone’s model number on the internet, to determine whether they need to purchase a new device or install a software update.
For more information on 5G technology visit the Federal Communications Commission “5G FAQS” at https://www.fcc.gov/5g-faqs