The last 3G mobile phone network will be shut down by the end of the year


Some companies, like T-Mobile, claim to have offered their customers a free 5G replacement device. Sometimes customers see the free device incentive in the form of multi-month bill credits, tiered charges for the price of the phone, and a matching credit that encourages you to stay with a carrier for at least until at the end of telephone charges and credit.

Companies are cutting 3G to reuse the finite amount of spectrum or airwaves allocated to them to send wireless signals to networks. You’re not off the hook if you get phone service from Boost, Cricket, Straight Talk and other discount providers. They are grafted onto the networks of the main carriers.

“By switching off old technology and deploying 4G or 5G on this spectrum, the experience for users will improve because new technologies are much more efficient in how they use this spectrum,” says Ian Fogg, vice president. -president of analytics based in the UK. to mobile analytics company Opensignal.

Back when 4G arrived, carriers put 2G to pasture – well, most of them. T-Mobile says it still has remnants of its old 2G network in place which it will remove at an undetermined date. In the heyday of 3G, phones could have a wider service area by falling back on a 2G network where coverage was spotty.

Shutdown dates are an end, not a beginning, FCC says

AT&T, which began taking its 3G towers offline on Feb. 22, and T-Mobile, which began shutting down both its own network and the Sprint network it inherited when the carriers merged in 2020, say that these 3G networks are “withdrawn”. You may find a spurious signal, but it will not be reliable.

T-Mobile’s UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) 3G network was shut down on July 1. T-Mobile also said that Sprint’s old LTE network (which stands for long-term evolution and is a variant of 4G) will shut down on July 1. .

Verizon is in the process of retiring its 3G network after extending an original deadline of 2020. The moves will be complete by Dec. 31, according to the Federal Communications Commission. The company says it will no longer extend the deadline.

“As we approach the shutdown date, customers still accessing the 3G network may experience degradation or complete loss of service, and our service centers will only be able to offer extremely limited troubleshooting assistance on these devices. older,” Verizon Vice President Mike said. Haberman said in a blog post.

In late March, Verizon said less than 1% of its customers were still accessing its 3G network. In early July, telecommunications analyst Roger Entner of Recon Analytics in Dedham, Massachusetts, estimated that there would be a few hundred thousand customers with each carrier, totaling less than a million people and growing from 5 to 10 million at the end of last year.

Certain medical and home security devices over 3G

The abandonment of 3G does not only affect telephones. Some home security systems, in-car SOS services, Kindle readers, medical devices, smartwatches, tablets and other devices also depend on 3G.

The Alarm Industry Communications Committee, a group made up of representatives from home security and personal emergency response systems companies, was particularly concerned about AT&T’s 3G network shutdown because most of its devices use this carrier. Their devices are installed in homes to report burglaries, fires and medical emergencies and include emergency button and pendant services that help seniors stay in their homes.

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