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).
As usual, when technology advances, old technology comes to an end. This is no different from wireless carriers. As new infrastructures are introduced, older versions are pushed out and that is exactly what's taking place with the 3G network.
3G was first introduced in 2002, just a few years before we got the first iPhone and when Blackberry was popping.
But what does this even mean for many mobile users, how does this even affect smartphones?
You see, there may not be a mass of people affected by this change because the mass majority of users are using an updated 4G or 5G smartphone. However, you may want to check in on grandma and grandpa and get them something updated if they're still using an older flip phone they purchased back in 2010.
With carriers fully ending their 3G network availability, this will cause a lot of older phones and devices to stop working as they will have no network to operate on. Because these devices are probably 2G/3G devices, they do not have the capacity to operate on the 4G network and are therefore good as useless now.
If you own a 3G phone or any device that doesn't support HD Voice calls, it will not be able to make or receive calls. text messages, or use any services requiring wireless data. Those devices will also not be able to dial 911 or other emergency lines.
Does this only Affect Phones?
No, this will go beyond mobile phones, it will also stop devices that use 3G technology such as Home Alarms, SOS devices, e-book devices (readers), and other wireless accessories.
While this change has been made since last year, some prepaid carriers still had access to 3G or rather some devices still worked at some capacity. With the nationwide end of the 3G network across all major carriers, prepaid carriers no longer support 3G considering we too operate on the very networks that are ending the era of 3G.
What to do if you have any 3G Devices?
If you haven't already, the simple answer here is to upgrade your devices. Also, you may want to check your device model and ensure you have an eligible version that will be supported on the network.
You may have an upgraded phone, but depending on where you purchased the device it may not be an approved model. For, instance many smartphones purchased on sites like eBay may be an international version of the brand you're using and may use 3G technology.
You can always find your device's model number in your settings and look up that number to determine what version of the device you are using.