20 years after the advent of third-generation (3G) communications in the United States, the country is beginning to officially phase out this mobile communication standard. AT&T shut down yesterday, and other mobile operators are expected to get rid of legacy networks later this year.
It is expected that the changes will affect many areas of life – both the owners of old phones and, for example, users of wireless security systems and other complexes will suffer. In order to speed up the transition to at least 4G without disconnecting subscribers, AT&T is providing free replacement phones to many owners of 3G devices and is trying to notify customers in every possible way. According to the company, notifications were sent through various channels for two years – most had time to seamlessly switch to the new technology by February 22, 2022. The shutdown of 3G networks is part of a broader plan to use the freed up frequencies for 4G and 5G. T-Mobile and Verizon are set to do the same this quarter.
The changes will affect many people, in particular users of 3G-enabled Amazon Kindle e-readers, feature phones and many Android smartphones, as well as iPhone 5 and older. In addition, home wireless alarms and all kinds of medical equipment, such as fall detectors for the elderly, as well as some car emergency notification systems, will stop working.
For those who stubbornly do not want to get rid of 3G devices, there are some options for bypassing the restrictions that have appeared. For example, many older smartphones, tablets and e-book readers can use Wi-Fi instead of 3G – even VoIP services can be used for calls. With other solutions, it will be more difficult – experts warn that certain alarm systems will have to be completely replaced. In theory, most cars using emergency alert devices and released no earlier than 5 years ago use 4G modems. Others may be offered additional adapters with modern modems.
The 3G network , which appeared in the US in 2002, became a technology driver thanks to the growing popularity of smartphones. Later, mobile operators switched to 4G and, more recently, to 5G. According to local statistics, only a small number of customers still use 3G networks. According to Verizon, 99% of users have upgraded to 4G LTE or 5G. AT&T also claims that less than 1% of mobile traffic is 3G.
source: CNN Business