News Alert: United States: Plan ahead for phase out of 3G cellular networks and service. 

By: Zachary Lopez (ZachNews):

Source: Federal Communications Commission (Information):

United States: If your mobile phone is more than a few years old, you may want to plan ahead for phase out of 3G cellular networks and service.

This phase out of 3G cellular networks and service will affect all major mobile carriers, and any older phone, tablet or device that connects through 3G only will become almost useless.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, what will happen is mobile carriers are shutting down their 3G networks, which rely on older technology, to make room for more advanced network services, including 5G. As a result, many older cell phones will be unable to make or receive calls and texts, including calls to 911, or use data services. This will affect 3G mobile phones and certain older 4G mobile phones that do not support Voice over LTE (VoLTE or HD Voice).

The phase out of 3G cellular networks and service will begin with AT&T on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022, followed by T-Mobile on Thursday, March 31st, 2022 then Verizon by the end of 2022.

If your mobile carrier is not listed here, the Federal Communications Commission said you may still be affected as 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.

Customers to contact their mobile provider or consult your provider’s website for more information about their 3G retirement plan and whether your phone, or other connected device, may be affected.

The Federal Communications Commission said that it’s important to plan now so that you don’t lose connectivity, including the ability to call 911.

In addition, the Federal Communications Commission said some carrier websites provide lists of devices that will no longer be supported after 3G networks are shut down, and you may need to upgrade to a newer device to ensure that you can stay connected, and carriers may be offering discounted or free upgrades to help consumers who need to upgrade their phones, as well as some devices may only require a software update to enable VoLTE (HD Voice) or other advanced services.

The Federal Communications Commission said if you purchased your phone independent of a mobile provider, you should be able to check whether your device is 4G LTE (with VoLTE or HD Voice) enabled by checking your phone’s settings or user manual, or by searching your phone’s model number on the internet, to determine whether you need to purchase a new device or install a software update.

The phase out of 3G cellular networks and service doesn’t just impact phones.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, other devices, such as certain medical devices, tablets, smart watches, vehicle SOS services, home security systems, and other connected products may be using 3G network services as well as devices that use cellular connectivity as a back-up when a wired internet connection goes down.

The Federal Communications Commission said if the device is not labeled, contact the monitoring company or other service provider to confirm how the device connects and whether your device may be impacted.

As for why 3G cellular networks and service is being phase out, the Federal Communications Commission said 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, and similar transitions have happened before; for example, some mobile carriers shut down their 2G networks when they upgraded their networks to support 4G services.

Mobile carriers have the flexibility to choose the types of technologies and services they deploy, including when they decommission older services in favor of newer services to meet consumer demands.

If you need help staying connected, the Federal Communications Commission said your mobile service provider may be offering special deals on new devices, including some deals that might include a free cell phone.

In addition, although they do not cover the cost of new devices, other FCC programs may be able to assist eligible consumers with the cost of phone or internet services:

The Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program may be able to assist eligible consumers in getting connected to phone and internet services, and provides a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers to ensure that all Americans have the opportunities and security that phone service brings, including being able to connect to jobs, family and emergency services.

*** The Federal Communications Commission said you can learn more about the Lifeline Program and find out if you may be eligible at the following Federal Communications Commission website: ***

https://www.fcc.gov/lifeline-consumers

In addition, the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program provides a temporary discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households during the COVID-19 pandemic.

*** You can learn more about the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, what it covers, and find out if you may be eligible at the following Federal Communications Commission website: ***

https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit

*** For more information about 5G, please got to the following Federal Communications Commission website: ***

https://www.fcc.gov/5g-faqs

*** For more information about Federal Communications Commission’s 5G strategy, please got to the following Federal Communications Commission’s America’s 5G Future website: ***

https://www.fcc.gov/5G

*** For more information about on consumer issues, please got to the following Federal Communications Commission’s Consumer Help Center website: ***

https://www.fcc.gov/consumers

To request this article in an alternate format – braille, large print, Word or text document or audio, please write to:

Federal Communications Commission

45 L Street NE

Washington, DC 20554

You can also call the Federal Communications Commission at: 1 (888) 225-5322 or for ASL Video, please call: 1 (844) 432-2275.

You can also email the Federal Communications Commission to: fcc504@fcc.gov.

***

%d bloggers like this: