3G Sunset: How is The US Dealing with The End of 3G Networks

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Some of your most essential techs may soon become unusable as 3G shutdown in US. Replacing 3G, 5G next-gen network, faster speeds than 4G LTE.

As The 5G Infrastructure Develops, 3G Networks Will Shut Down. The Closure May Affect The Tech You Rely on Daily

Some of your most essential techs may soon become unusable as 3G Networks shuts down in US. What drove the development of how we use, communicate and interact with technology 20 years ago will retire by the end of 2022. Major US carriers have repurposed their satellites over the year.

Replacing 3G, the 5G next-generation network promises faster speeds than 4G LTE. It also offers a more unified system for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) development.

So, what does this mean for older hardware like cellphones, alarms, and GPS systems that flourish on the 3G spectrum? Bluntly said, many of the network-driven features will become obsolete, raising some unpredictable dangers.

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Fortunately, here’s what you and your loved ones can do to transition from aging to future-proof tech safely. In some instances, manufacturers may even be able to give some older gadgets new life via software upgrades.

“3G Sunset”

Carriers have planned the closure of 3G since 4G LTE took the reins (and the prospect of 5G being another catalyst). The plan took backstage during the pandemic.

During the pandemic two years, 3G-reliant services like home security systems and tech for the elderly became more essential than ever, giving the system a short lease of life.

However, in 2022, major US carriers finally gave in and are setting new shutdown dates spread across 2022.

  • The first of the big three, AT&T has, closed its 3G network on February 22, 2022.
  • Now merged with Sprint, T-Mobile will shut down its 3G network on May 31, 2022.
  • Verizon’s 3G network will shut off on December 31, 2022. 

Will My Phone Still Work?

A more significant portion of the 3G era, smartphones users, browse the web, share viral videos, update statuses, and connect with people worldwide.

With 3G turned off through 4G LTE, 5G, and Wi-Fi networks, all this will remain possible. For example, the iPhone 3GS won’t be able to make calls or text messages but will work on Wi-Fi to access internet-based applications.

Less than nine percent of the US wireless connections are 2G or 3G networks. A smartphone launched after 2014 likely won’t experience any setbacks from the 3G shutdown. The same applies to flip-phone released after 2017. 

T-Mobile and Verizon are reaching out to 3G customers to help with the transition to 4G and 5G service plans. We see trade-in offers and incentives to swap 3G-supported phones with a 5G-supported phone for free. 

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Will The 3G Shutdown Affect My Car?

Vehicles from Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, Hyundai, Dodge, and more released before 2019 are susceptible to issues. 3G has played a foundational role in the navigation and alarm-based systems we rely on during our everyday commutes.

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With the institution of faster and more reliable 5G, roadside assistance and emergency crash alerts are among the many network-based features that will be affected by the shutting down of 3G.

Many cars also have an emergency SOS button that, when pressed, dials to first responders via 3G. That, too, will lose functionality.

The main reason newer models still carry 3G receivers is that automakers save on manufacturing costs.

Vehicle owners will want to ensure that their car supports or can receive hardware upgrades to connect to 4G. Stay in the know, consul your local car dealer.

While the modification may come in the form of downloadable software or physical spare parts, it will help keep your vehicle up to date and functioning — especially during times of danger.

Will It Affect Home Security?

Home security and alarm systems have relied on 3G to communicate and monitor suspicious activities for the past decades.

With the 3G shutdown, that line of communication between the home and its service’s central monitoring station becomes non-existent, leaving people who live alone and elders vulnerable.

Fortunately, many home security companies have proactively migrated customers from 3G to 4G networks throughout the pandemic, ensuring that their services remain operational even after the 3G spectrum ends.

Unlike smartphones and cars that require disassembling or full-on upgrades, adding 4G functionality to security systems is as simple as having a technician install an external receiver (usually a box or panel).

Tech That Will Be Affected

Besides the categories mentioned above, many gadgets and services rely on the older-generation network, which you may not know.

If you use any of these types of equipment, contact the manufacturer and ask what the next steps are. You may be eligible for a hardware or software upgrade.

  • Medical alert devices (fall detectors, communicators, etc.)
  • Fire alarms
  • Inventory trackers
  • Smartwatches
  • E-readers (Kindles, Nooks, etc.)
  • GPS trackers (including for pets)
  • Marine safety devices

With the sun setting on 3G, check your devices to ensure everything is up to date and geared for the future.

As technology progresses and new advances replace the old, businesses and customers alike must learn, adapt, and embrace the change so the tech we rely on daily can keep us safe and informed.

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