Still on 3G? You may not be able to make calls after Jan. 1

Consumers whose mobile phones rely on older 3G and 4G technology will not be able to place phone calls, including 911 calls, or send texts beginning as early as January 1.  Mobile carriers are shutting down their 3G and some 4G networks to make room for more advanced network services, including 5G technology.

Other connected devices, such as medical devices and home security systems, may also be impacted by this transition.

Consumers are urged to contact their mobile provider or consult their provider’s website for specific information about their 3G retirement plan and whether your phone or other connected device may be affected.  Also, be aware that carriers such as Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk, and many Lifeline providers utilize AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile networks and will be impacted by those companies’ transition schedules.

Some carrier websites provide lists of devices that will no longer be supported after 3G networks are shut down. You may need to upgrade to a newer device to ensure that you can stay connected, and carriers may be offering discounted or free upgrades to help consumers who need to upgrade their phones.  

Some devices may only require a software update to enable VoLTE (HD Voice) or other advanced services.   If you purchased your phone independent of a mobile provider, you should be able to check whether your device is 4G LTE (with VoLTE or HD Voice) enabled by checking your phone’s settings or user manual, or by searching your phone’s model number on the internet, to determine whether you need to purchase a new device or install a software update.

For additional information, please refer to the Federal Communications Commission’s consumer guide available at https://bit.ly/3wgIRXx