Mobile service providers will shut down 3G networks in 2022

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- 3G networks are going to be taken offline throughout 2022, meaning some devices will not work properly, because they will be unable to connect to the internet. 

According to the FCC, 3G networks will start to be disconnected at the beginning of the year, though not all networks will be shut down right away.

AT&T announced that all their 3G networks will be disconnected by February. Sprint's network will shut down by March 31, and T-Mobile's 3G will be offline by July 1. Verizon users will have more time, as their 3G networks will be completely shut down by December 31, 2022. 

The 3G services are being taken down to provide more bandwidth for newer 4G and 5G services. 

“Our airwaves are full right now so the only way to create new space is to get rid of something,” said Boyd Smith, founder and president of Techknowledgey Inc. in Goshen.

According to Smith, this will mainly affect older devices, from phones, tablets and smart watches, to cars and home security systems. 

“Basically it’s any connected device that’s five years old or older—you might want to give it a quick glance to make sure it’s not going to be bricked when 3G shuts down," he said. “3G was in a lot of vehicles for GPS services, remote unlocks, phone for help services inside of cars. Security systems are another thing you want to look at. If you have a cellular security system in your home, you might want to make sure that’s running on newer technology.”

Which means for some people, if they still want to connect to the mobile networks, they will have to upgrade. 

Smith said “If you still want to use those services, if you still want to use your cell phone—you have to have a newer cell phone. If you want to use GPS built into your car, you have to get the upgrade. It just physically will not work whenever 3G is shut down.”

Though Smith urges consumers to make sure their device will be affected by the shutdown before they decide they need to upgrade. 

“If you have any question, do a Google search," he said. "Go on the internet, see if you get the answer. If that doesn’t work, if you’re a business, contact your IT department. If you’re an individual, contact the device manufacturer. You know, make sure you do your homework before you go out and let someone talk you into doing something. You might not have a problem to solve.”

More information on the 3G shutdown can be found here: Plan Ahead for Phase Out of 3G Cellular Networks and Service | Federal Communications Commission (fcc.gov)


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