AT&T, the wireless carrier will shut down its 3G network on Tuesday, February 22, 2022 (02-22-22), which mean multiple older smartphones and countless other devices will no longer work. AT&T did announce this was going to happen back in October of 2021.

Actually, Verizon was the first to launch a 3G network in the U.S. in 2002, during a time when the Blackberry was the top smartphone to own, and five years ahead of the arrival of the iPhone.

Twenty years ago, consumers used their phones for basic tasks, like making or receiving a phone call, checking email, and sending text messages. But with our smartphones today, we do so much more: take pictures, watch TV, play games, scroll through social media, and beyond.

The added features mean having wireless networks to support them which is why AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are shutting down 3G networks to make room for faster 5G networks.  

As for T-Mobile, they say they will retire their older 3G network acquired in the Sprint deal on March 31. It will shut down its own 3G network by July 1.

And Verizon said it plans to decommission its 3G network by December 31, 2022.  So that means 3G will be a retired network of the past after this year. 

Here is some information on how the 3G shutdown might affect you. The impact of 3G’s retirement goes beyond older phones. The wireless network supports countless other devices such as e-book readers, vehicle SOS services, home alarms, medical alert devices, and much more. 

If you own a 3G phone or a phone that doesn’t support HD Voice calls, then it will no longer make or receive calls or text messages, or use any services requiring wireless data. And, very importantly, those devices can’t dial 911. In this case, you should consider replacing them, especially if you have it in case of emergency only.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) advises visiting your wireless carrier to determine whether your phone is affected. AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have details on which devices are impacted. Some devices might only require a software update to continue working once 3G is retired.

The new 5G network, the fifth-generation mobile network, will help our smartphones and other connected devices run faster. On our smartphones, it means we can download, upload or stream video as well as upload or download photos more quickly.

Semiconductor chip company Qualcomm, said in a post explaining 5G, “It is designed to do a variety of things than can transform our lives, including giving us faster download speeds, low latency, and more capacity and connectivity for billions of devices.”

Some current smartphones that already support 5G are: Apple’s iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lines, and Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones.

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