What you need to know about the upcoming 3G shutdown

Jan 1, 2022, 6:30 AM
(Pixabay Photo)...
(Pixabay Photo)
(Pixabay Photo)

Q: Should I be concerned with the upcoming shutdown of the 3G networks?

A: It’s hard to remember what a game changer 3G was when it first rolled out in the early 2000s, but it made things like music and video streaming a usable service.

For a point of reference, the first iPhone in 2007 wasn’t even cable of using the new 3G technology.

Today, whenever we are forced to use a 3G connection, it seems like nothing is happening compared to what we are used to with 4G and 5G.

All of the major carriers plan on shutting down their 3G networks in 2022, starting with AT&T in February, T-Mobile on its various networks throughout the summer and Verizon at the end of the year.

If any of your devices will only connect through 3G, they may essentially become nearly useless when the shutdown occurs on your carrier’s network.

3G-only devices are rare

Unless you’re still using a flip phone or smartphone that’s really old, you’re most likely using 4G or 5G almost exclusively right now.

Your phone should be displaying how it’s connecting in the upper right corner of the display with things like LTE, 4G or 5G.

That means you’d have to be using something older than an iPhone 6 or a Samsung Galaxy S4 or older Android device in order to be impacted. If you only ever see 3G as your connection method, you may have to upgrade the device.

AT&T has posted a list of devices that they say will work after they shut down their 3G network in February.

All of the carriers have stated that they will be alerting customers directly that they know have devices that will stop functioning on their networks.

Not just phones

There are devices other than phones that could potentially be impacted such as older e-readers like the Kindle or early generation iPads that have the ability to connect to a cellular network.

Tablets and e-readers that are impacted will still be able to connect via Wi-Fi as will older smartphones, so they won’t be completely useless.

Some older security systems or specialized industrial devices may also be impacted if they can only send information via a 3G connection.

Rural users

This shutdown is predicted to disproportionately impact low-income and rural users that are either using really old devices or don’t have access to anything other than a 3G signal.

Although various carriers have been upgrading their networks in anticipation of this shutdown, it’s possible that some rural users could still end up with no service when things shut down in their area.

The FCC published an interactive map showing 4G coverage by all of the major networks that rural users can use to determine which carriers will still provide coverage when 3G shuts down.

The data on the FCC map was as of May 15, 2021, while other resources that rely on user-reported data such as Root Metrics Coverage Maps may also be a useful evaluation tool for rural users.

Data Doctors

(Pexels Photo)...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

How to maximize accuracy, experience with dropped pins on Google Maps

Here are a few tips for maximizing your experience and accuracy with dropped pins on Google Maps in any part of the world.
3 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

Here are tips for switching your email from Cox to Gmail

If you're a user interested in switching your email from Cox to Gmail, here are a few tips to make the conversion easy and organized.
10 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

Comparing private search engines and understanding its benefits

Google’s search engine is considered the most powerful but the trade-off is that you give up privacy through their expansive tracking technologies. If you want to avoid the tracking but still get excellent search results, a private search engine does just that.
24 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Data Doctors

The Log4j threat: What everyone should do

In what is considered one of the most widespread and dangerous vulnerabilities to be discovered in a very long time, the Log4j problem is going to be a threat that will likely linger for a long time -- here's what you can do.
1 month ago
In this Thursday, March 12, 2015 photo, a first-grader learns keyboarding skills at Bayview Element...
Data Doctors

Here’s how to navigate computer shortcuts between Mac and Windows

Q: I’ve been a Mac user for a long time, but have to use Windows for my new job, which makes it confusing when I try to use shortcuts. A: Operating on both the Windows and Mac platforms on a regular basis has become a lot more common and for those that use a lot […]
1 month ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Data Doctors

Here’s what computer monitoring system SMART does for your device

If your computer takes forever to startup, freezes during startup or randomly crashes while in use, running a diagnostic program can help quickly determine if the problem is a failing hard drive.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

HVAC upkeep in Arizona saves money, keeps families prepared in the long run

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
Arizona State University

This is the best year to get your MBA

Getting a master’s degree is a major commitment of time, energy, and money, so returning to school — even if you’re thinking about a part-time program that allows you to keep working — is one of the biggest decisions of your career.

Thyroid issues: Here are the warning signs and what to do

In a 100-person office in the United States, an estimated 12 co-workers, employees and loved ones, will likely develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. That’s because, according to the American Thyroid Association, more than 12% of the U.S. population will experience thyroid issues.
What you need to know about the upcoming 3G shutdown