If you've got a phone that is more than a few years old, you might be in need of an upgrade as cell phone service providers are going to start phasing out 3G service in 2022, which could mean that you won't be able to make calls, including according to the FCC "calls to 911, or use data services."

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When is the planned 3G phase-out happening in 2022?

According to the FCC website, the big 3 cell phone service providers are phasing out their 3G services at different times during 2022, some however will start to phase out 3G as soon as January.

  • AT&T announced that it will finish shutting down its 3G network by February 2022.
  • Verizon announced that will finish shutting down its 3G network by December 31, 2022.
  • T-Mobile announced that it will finish shutting down Sprint's 3G CDMA network by March 31, 2022 and Sprint's 4G LTE network by June 30, 2022. It also announced it will shut down T-Mobile's 3G UMTS network by July 1, 2022, but has not yet announced a shutdown date for its 2G network.

The FCC website goes on to state that "if your mobile carrier is not listed here, you may still be affected. Many carriers, such as Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk, and several Lifeline mobile service providers, utilize AT&T's, Verizon's, and T-Mobile's networks."

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Why are cell phone companies getting rid of 3G?

The FCC states online that cell phone companies are well within their rights to 'shut down' networks for communication, like when 4G came along, many if not all cell phone providers dropped 2G service. The FCC states that "as mobile carriers seek to upgrade their networks to use the latest technologies, they periodically shut down older services, such as 3G, to free up spectrum and infrastructure to support new services, such as 5G."

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What will you need to do to avoid being affected by the 3G phase-out?

So have you wondered why some cell phone providers have been offering up FREE iPhones lately? It might have to do with the 3G phase-out process. If you have a 3G phone, here are some options to POSSIBLY avoid being affected.

  • Contact your mobile phone service provider or consult your provider's website for more information about their 3G retirement plan and whether your phone or another connected device, may be affected.
  • You may need to upgrade to a newer device to ensure that you can stay connected.

If I don't have a 3G phone should I be worried

No. If you aren't among those on the list of cell phone service providers with your plan or phone, you shouldn't have any issues with this transition, but if you are concerned check with your cell phone service provider for exact answers to your questions.

H/T to the FCC for information used in this article.

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