Plan Ahead for Phase Out of 3G Networks

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 as early as January 2022.

Mobile carriers are shutting down their 3G networks, which rely on older technology, to make room for more advanced network services, including 5G.

As a result, many older cell phones will be unable to make or receive calls and texts, including calls to 911, or use data services. This will affect 3G mobile phones and certain older 4G mobile phones that do not support Voice over LTE (VoLTE or HD Voice).

Other devices relying on 3G connectivity, such as medical alert devices, tablets, smart watches and home security systems, may also be impacted by this transition.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urges consumers 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. The FCC reminds the public 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.  

Need help staying connected?

  • As noted above, your mobile service provider may be offering special deals on new devices, including some deals that might include a free cell phone.
  • The FCC’s Lifeline program may be able to assist eligible consumers in getting connected to phone and internet services. The program provides a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers to ensure that all Americans have the opportunities and security that phone service brings, including being able to connect to jobs, family and emergency services.
  • In addition, The FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program provides a temporary discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, click the following link for the FCC’s consumer guide about the 3G transition – Plan Ahead for Phase Out of 3G Cellular Networks and Service | Federal Communications Commission (