3G is Being Phased Out in 2022

What does it mean that 3G is being phased out in 2022? How do I know if this change affects me? What should I do to prepare?

Don’t worry, here are some answers, and if you still have questions, SDM is here to help.

What is 3G?

Cellular service is the connection your devices makes with cell towers. Service is rated by the generation of the cellular protocols. 3G connectivity utilizes the third generation of standards for cellular service. 4G is the fourth generation and includes improvements to 3G. 5G is the generation that is currently being rolled out.

3G service is being discontinued to make way for new 5G service. Each cellular provider has their own timetable for this rollout.

Here is the FCC’s description.

Will my phone be affected?

In general, the following phones are not able to use the more current 4G or 5G connections. These devices, and similar, will lose the ability to receive cellular service. This will not affect their use of WiFi.

  • Apple iPhone 5, 5C, 5S or earlier
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 or earlier
  • Apple iPad 2 or earlier
  • Apple Watch series 2 or earlier
  • Kindle (1st and 2nd Generation) and Kindle DX (2nd Generation) will not download any new content. Others will only work on WiFi.

Check with your cellular provider to be sure. Here are some resources.

Verizon – Description of some of the main phones that will NOT work on their network.

AT&T – List of acceptable devices. These WILL work on their network.

T-Mobile –  check your phone based on your device’s IMEI number. Instructions are here.

Kindle – The following will only work with WiFi – Kindle Keyboard (3rd generation), Kindle Touch (4th generation), Kindle Paperwhite (4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th generation), Kindle Voyage (7th generation), and Kindle Oasis (8th generation). Most older Kindle Fire are already WiFi only and won’t be affected.

Consumer Cellular – check your network mode setting.

Many providers are contacting their clients who use these affected devices. If you receive an email like this, do not ignore it.

What other devices might be affected?

Any device using cellular service to connect to the Internet might be affected. This could include home security systems, cars, smart watches, tablets, mobile hotspots and more.

To find out if your other devices are ok, check with your cellular provider or the device manufacturer.

WiFi use will be fine. Any device that is able to use WiFi now, will continue to be able to do that. The limitation of WiFi, is that it is local to the source. This means that you need to stay near the router in order to access the WiFi connection.

What should I do to prepare?

If your phone or tablet cannot access 4G cellular service, you should upgrade to a newer phone that can use this service.

If you have another type of device, such as car or security system, you will need to contact the device manufacturer to determine the best way to upgrade.

Your options will depend on the provider.

Devices will continue to work on WiFi. Only cellular connections can be affected.

If you would like help with this process, just call or email and we’ll be happy to assist you! If you have specific questions, or if our terminology isn’t clear, please use our contact form to send us a message. Thank you!

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