Is your cell phone more than a few years old? You may need to upgrade – quickly.
The shutdown of 3G cellular service by all major mobile carriers – AT&T, T-Mobile (which owns Sprint) and Verizon – is underway and will be completed next year.
3G’s long-anticipated sunset will free the airwaves for 5G and other advanced services. This is the good news.
The bad news is that if you have a device that relies on the old wireless standard, you will no longer be able to use certain data services, send text messages, or make phone calls, including dialing 911.
Millions of phones and other commonly used products still use 3G, including home security systems, medical devices, and personal emergency response systems. Adding to the confusion, older 4G phones that do not support modern cellular voice technologies, such as Voice Over LTE or HD Voice, are also affected. These customers may need a software upgrade or a new phone.
Downtime varies, but will end as early as January for Sprint’s 3G network. Other operators, including prepaid service providers Cricket, Boost and Straight Talk, are also affected as they depend on the airwaves of the big three.
How do you know if your aging phone is at risk? Carriers say they have reminded customers who need to act by direct mail, email and text.