Is your mobile phone more than a few years old? You may need to upgrade — fast.
The shutdown of 3G cellular service by all of the major cellphone carriers — AT&T, T-Mobile (which owns Sprint) and Verizon — is under way and will be completed next year.
The long-planned sunset of 3G will free up airwaves for 5G and other advanced services. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that if you have a device that relies on the old wireless standard, you will no longer be able to use some data services, send texts or make phone calls, including dialing 911.
Millions of phones and other commonly used products still harness 3G, including home security systems, medical devices and personal emergency response systems. Adding to the confusion, older 4G phones that don’t support modern cellular voice technologies, such as Voice Over LTE or HD Voice, are impacted, too. Those customers may need a software upgrade or a new phone.
The timelines for shutdowns vary, but they will be wrapped up as early as January for Sprint’s 3G network. Other carriers, including prepaid providers Cricket, Boost and Straight Talk, are also affected, because they rely on airwaves from the Big Three.
How do you know if your aging phone is at risk? Carriers say they have been reminding customers who need to act via direct mail, email and text.