Several mobile companies are saying goodbye to 3G services this New Year

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 6:23 PM CST
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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - Several mobile companies are announcing that they will say goodbye to their 3G networks this upcoming year.

3G is the third generation of wireless technology, connecting your phone to the internet to make voice calls, video calls, and download data.

It was cutting edge in the early 2010s, but now it’s outdated.

If you have a phone on the older side, you may need a new cell phone to stay connected because once the new year rolls around, it will eventually stop getting service, even if you have to call 911.

“They’re no longer going to work, and so that’s why they’re trying to get it out there to the community that those phones will not work anymore,” said Beth Eggar, the 911 program manager at Texoma Council Of Governments.

3G is retiring in 2022, making way for the next generation of network services.

“3G is the older network as far as when you use your cellphone the type of service that you get,” said Eggar. “It’s old and outdated. We now have faster, better service with 4G and 5G, so it’s no longer needed for today.”

She said this change would affect most phones or devices older than five or six years.

“It’s gonna affect older cellphones, a lot of time, people don’t upgrade ever, and they keep their old flip phones and stuff like that,” said Eggar.

And according to Eggar, that’ll impact some of the most vulnerable populations, including many shelters that give old phones out for emergencies.

“You do still have that lower-income population, you know, people that have come across domestic abuse and just need something to help them because they don’t have access or the homeless population that wouldn’t normally have access to a cell phone plan,” said Eggar.

The phasing out could start as early as January 1 for AT&T.

They plan to fully cut it off by February.

T-Mobile and Sprint will follow in late spring and early summer.

Verizon will shut theirs off by the end of next year.

“It’s important to get it taken care of now so that you’re not left not being able to call 911 in 2022,” said Eggar.

Also, it’s not just phones.

Shutting down 3G could impact medical devices and home security systems too.

If you’re unsure what will happen to your device, the FCC recommends contacting your mobile provider.

And if you need help finding a new device, there’s a federal Lifeline Program.

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