The 3G Shutdown: How Will It Affect Your Phone?

starlightz

Member
Nov 2, 2021
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All of the major US 3G networks are scheduled to shut down in 2022. This may affect your phone, your home alarm system, or even your car. Let's break down exactly what is happening and what you can expect.

What Devices Will Fail?​

According to the CTIA, about 9% of wireless connections remaining in the US are 2G or 3G. That includes phones, tablets, home alarm systems, medical alert devices, cars, and other machinery.

The iPhone 6 and all newer iPhones are all fine; ditto for the Galaxy S5 generation of phones and later. In general, smartphones that launched after 2014 and flip phones that launched after 2017 should continue to work.

However, gray-market devices that weren't designed for US networks, including international variants of popular Samsung phones, are getting cut off.

If your phone doesn't say "4G LTE" or "5G" in its status bar when Wi-Fi is off, there's a good chance it is a 3G phone and will no longer work after the shutoff. AT&T published a specific list of phones(Opens in a new window) that still work after the change. For phones on other carriers, just look for the indicator in the status bar.

Phones or tablets that currently support Wi-Fi will continue to work as before. That means, for example, any Apple device you own that can access Wi-Fi will still work with iMessage and FaceTime over Wi-Fi with your Apple ID.

The shutdown will also affect other devices. For instance, older Kindle ebook readers and some smartwatches will become Wi-Fi-only. But the home alarm system industry has been the most vocal about the shutdown. While the largest alarm provider, ADT, has upgraded its systems to 4G, other alarm providers might be behind the ball. If you don't use ADT, you should ask your provider if you need an upgrade. If you do, someone from the company needs to replace your primary alarm box. The shutoff might also affect medical alert devices. Again, contact the medical device company for more details.

The situation with cars is really complicated. The shutdown won't affect your ability to drive your car, but it could affect remote start, remote location, integrated navigation, and OnStar-like services. For more details, check out The Drive's coverage(Opens in a new window) of affected car models and what car manufacturers have committed to do.

Can I Still Get a Flip Phone?​


The Sunbeam F1 is one of the best simple 4G voice phones you can buy (Photo: Sascha Segan)
Most people who this shutdown will affect either have hand-me-down smartphones or older flip phones. The good news is that every carrier offers 4G voice phones; you can also purchase them unlocked. The phones range from inexpensive and basic, to fancy and classy. Some of our recent reviews include:


Why Is 3G Shutting Down?​

The 3G networks are very old. The form of 3G that Sprint and Verizon use is actually an enhancement to 2G, so those networks are basically on 1995-1996 technology. AT&T and T-Mobile introduced 3G widely in 2006-2007.

The carriers have limited access to airwaves and generally license them at great cost from the FCC. Because 3G assumes much less computing power than what modern devices are capable of, it's much less efficient than 4G or 5G. The CTIA says that 5G is 23x more spectrally efficient than 2G—meaning each hertz of valuable airwaves can handle 23 times the number of users with the newer technology.

Furthermore, 3G airwaves can only be used for 3G, which AT&T says is a big problem. The company claimed in a filing with the FCC that, at the end of its run, it used 10MHz of 850MHz spectrum for its 3G users. Only 4% of that capacity was in use at any given time, leaving 96% of that very valuable channel unused. When the spectrum is switched to 4G and 5G, it will be used by many more devices.


Will I Get Anything From This But Annoyance?​

People who use older 3G phones tend not to be interested in wireless data connections, so talking about how those connections will become faster usually just leads to cranky comments about how much they hate TikTok. But the transition does have two advantages for even the most curmudgeonly.

Moving from 3G to 4G improves voice call quality because 4G systems use more advanced audio codecs. For more on that, see how to make your cell phone calls sound better.

Using low-band 3G channels for 5G is also a key part of the carriers' attempts to offer cheaper home internet service in suburban and rural areas. Because of the reach of the older 3G channels, when they're used for uplink, they can help extend the range of the higher-band 5G downlink channels.
 

Chief-Mkwawa

Platinum Member
May 25, 2011
29,138
34,971
Chifu pixel 4xl na samsung s10 plus bila kupepesa macho wewe unachagua ipi na kwanini?
S10 plus overall ni simu nzuri, pixel nyingi sio all arounder zina camera nzuri ila vitu vingine kama Display, battery life etc vinakuwa havipo vizuri.

Inategemea na bei pia.
 

Axel Lloyd

JF-Expert Member
Sep 10, 2017
4,172
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S10 plus overall ni simu nzuri, pixel nyingi sio all arounder zina camera nzuri ila vitu vingine kama Display, battery life etc vinakuwa havipo vizuri.

Inategemea na bei pia.
Vp display na battery life Kwa Pixel 6 pro,maana ndo nataka niichukue kabla ya kufunga mwaka.
 

wa stendi

JF-Expert Member
Jul 7, 2016
23,791
25,242
All of the major US 3G networks are scheduled to shut down in 2022. This may affect your phone, your home alarm system, or even your car. Let's break down exactly what is happening and what you can expect.

What Devices Will Fail?​

According to the CTIA, about 9% of wireless connections remaining in the US are 2G or 3G. That includes phones, tablets, home alarm systems, medical alert devices, cars, and other machinery.

The iPhone 6 and all newer iPhones are all fine; ditto for the Galaxy S5 generation of phones and later. In general, smartphones that launched after 2014 and flip phones that launched after 2017 should continue to work.

However, gray-market devices that weren't designed for US networks, including international variants of popular Samsung phones, are getting cut off.

If your phone doesn't say "4G LTE" or "5G" in its status bar when Wi-Fi is off, there's a good chance it is a 3G phone and will no longer work after the shutoff. AT&T published a specific list of phones(Opens in a new window) that still work after the change. For phones on other carriers, just look for the indicator in the status bar.

Phones or tablets that currently support Wi-Fi will continue to work as before. That means, for example, any Apple device you own that can access Wi-Fi will still work with iMessage and FaceTime over Wi-Fi with your Apple ID.

The shutdown will also affect other devices. For instance, older Kindle ebook readers and some smartwatches will become Wi-Fi-only. But the home alarm system industry has been the most vocal about the shutdown. While the largest alarm provider, ADT, has upgraded its systems to 4G, other alarm providers might be behind the ball. If you don't use ADT, you should ask your provider if you need an upgrade. If you do, someone from the company needs to replace your primary alarm box. The shutoff might also affect medical alert devices. Again, contact the medical device company for more details.

The situation with cars is really complicated. The shutdown won't affect your ability to drive your car, but it could affect remote start, remote location, integrated navigation, and OnStar-like services. For more details, check out The Drive's coverage(Opens in a new window) of affected car models and what car manufacturers have committed to do.

Can I Still Get a Flip Phone?​


The Sunbeam F1 is one of the best simple 4G voice phones you can buy (Photo: Sascha Segan)
Most people who this shutdown will affect either have hand-me-down smartphones or older flip phones. The good news is that every carrier offers 4G voice phones; you can also purchase them unlocked. The phones range from inexpensive and basic, to fancy and classy. Some of our recent reviews include:


Why Is 3G Shutting Down?​

The 3G networks are very old. The form of 3G that Sprint and Verizon use is actually an enhancement to 2G, so those networks are basically on 1995-1996 technology. AT&T and T-Mobile introduced 3G widely in 2006-2007.

The carriers have limited access to airwaves and generally license them at great cost from the FCC. Because 3G assumes much less computing power than what modern devices are capable of, it's much less efficient than 4G or 5G. The CTIA says that 5G is 23x more spectrally efficient than 2G—meaning each hertz of valuable airwaves can handle 23 times the number of users with the newer technology.

Furthermore, 3G airwaves can only be used for 3G, which AT&T says is a big problem. The company claimed in a filing with the FCC that, at the end of its run, it used 10MHz of 850MHz spectrum for its 3G users. Only 4% of that capacity was in use at any given time, leaving 96% of that very valuable channel unused. When the spectrum is switched to 4G and 5G, it will be used by many more devices.


Will I Get Anything From This But Annoyance?​

People who use older 3G phones tend not to be interested in wireless data connections, so talking about how those connections will become faster usually just leads to cranky comments about how much they hate TikTok. But the transition does have two advantages for even the most curmudgeonly.

Moving from 3G to 4G improves voice call quality because 4G systems use more advanced audio codecs. For more on that, see how to make your cell phone calls sound better.

Using low-band 3G channels for 5G is also a key part of the carriers' attempts to offer cheaper home internet service in suburban and rural areas. Because of the reach of the older 3G channels, when they're used for uplink, they can help extend the range of the higher-band 5G downlink channels.

Kwani ukiamua kubadilisha mwenyewe kwenye simu yaki si unabadili tuu??
 
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