Did you know that cell service providers will be shutting down their 3G networks beginning in early 2022?
- The Federal Communications Commission has developed a consumer guide with more information on the 3G shutdown
- This will affect older devices made for the 3G network, including:
- cell phones
- smart watches
- assistive technology devices with SIM cards (possibly older augmentative communication devices and braille note takers)
- certain medical devices
- These devices on 3G networks will not be able to send texts, use data, or make or receive phone calls, including calls to 9-1-1
- These devices may still be able to access services via a public or personal Wi-Fi network
- Some devices may only require a software update to enable VoLTE (HD Voice) or other advanced services
- Older adults, people with disabilities, and people on fixed incomes may be affected.
What Should Consumers Do?
- Contact your mobile provider or consult your provider’s website for more information about their 3G retirement plan
- You may need to upgrade to a newer device to ensure that you can stay connected
- Consumers with phones older than ~2013-2014, such as an iPhone 6 or a Samsung Galaxy S4 should contact their mobile carrier to determine if their device will be affected
- If you purchased your phone independent of a mobile provider, you should be able to check whether your device is 4G LTE (with VoLTE or HD Voice) enabled by checking your phone’s settings or user manual, or by searching your phone’s model number on the internet, to determine whether you need to purchase a new device or install a software update.
- If you did not purchase your phone through a mobile provider, you may be able to check whether your device is 4G LTE (with VoLTE or HD Voice) enabled. This would help you determine if you need to purchase a new device or install a software update. To check, use your phone’s settings and find the About Phone option. You can also search for this information in your phone’s user manual or by searching your phone’s model number on the Internet.
- Information on 3G cellular phase out (Federal Communications Commission)
- Consumer Guide (Federal Communications Commission)
- Emergency Broadband Benefit (Federal Communications Commission)
- Affordable Connectivity Program (Federal Communications Commission)
- Lifeline (Federal Communications Commission, Universal Service Administration)
- 2-1-1 (Texas)
- Area Agency on Aging (Texas)
- Specialized Telecommunications Assistance Program (STAP, Texas)
- Texas Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution (iCanConnect Texas)
- AT&T info and resources
If you need additional support refeshing your current technology, please reach out to TTAP for support and referrals.
Cellular Service Providers' Anticipated 3G Network Shutdowns
- AT&T will finish shutting down its 3G network by February 2022
- T-Mobile will finish shutting down Sprint’s 3G network by Jan. 1, 2022 and Sprint’s LTE network by June 30, 2022. It also plans to shut down T-Mobile’s 2G and 3G networks, but has not yet announced a date -
- Verizon will finish shutting down its 3G network by Dec. 31, 2022 -
- Providers like Boost, Cricket, and Straight Talk also use the networks of the larger providers. The FCC encourages customers of any network to contact their carrier for more information. Many carriers are also offering free or low-cost replacement phones or devices