Wireless companies ending 3G service, starting in February with AT&T – TribLIVE

What is 5G?
3G wireless networks are sunsetting to help make way for next generation 5G, or fifth generation, technology — which cellphone companies have been rolling out for a few years.
The technology is being touted as offering far more than advancement in cellular performance but also able to deliver a wave of business and industry innovation. This includes the promise of advancing autonomous vehicles, modern manufacturing, smart cities, telehealth and other fields that would rely on a universe of internet-connected devices through better and more reliable connectivity, faster speeds and by being able to connect up to 10 times as many devices than 4G technology.
— Associated Press

TribLIVE’s Daily and Weekly email newsletters deliver the news you want and information you need, right to your inbox.
Cathy Gates was doing just fine with a flip phone, but got rid of it when she was given a 3G smartphone at work.
“Later on about four or five years ago, I got my own, a similar phone, but recently I started having problems with it,” said Gates, 65, of Penn Hills.
When she started looking into a new phone, Gates found out that pretty soon, she’d need a new one whether she wanted it or not.
The nation’s major cellular providers — Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile — say that about 1% of their users are still on a device that uses the 3G network to communicate.
But with more than 320 million combined customers in the U.S., that’s still 3.2 million people. Like it or not, they will need an upgrade by the end of the year, when the network will be fully phased out.
Some of those phase-outs will start in February, and emergency service providers are concerned about it from a safety perspective.
“If your mobile phone is more than a few years old, you may need to upgrade your device before your provider shuts down its 3G network and you lose service – including the ability to call 911,” said Pennsylvania State Police spokesman Lt. Adam Reed. “During an emergency, every minute counts whether you need police, fire or medical assistance.”
For the titans of U.S. corporate wireless, it’s simply about making room for new technology.
Verizon, with more than 120 million U.S. customers, initially announced its plans to decommission 3G technology in 2019, but extended the deadline to the end of 2022.
“We’ve already developed migration plans with most of our business customers to ensure any 3G devices they have in vehicles and equipment have been migrated to 4G LTE or 5G technology as soon as possible,” said Mike Haberman, Verizon vice president.
T-Mobile, with just under 105 million customers, plans to begin shutting down its various 3G networks — starting with those of merger partner Sprint — on March 31. Sprint’s LTE network will go offline June 30, with the T-Mobile 3G network following suit on July 1.
However, users of older phones that are used only for 911 connectivity may not receive a notification if they do not have active service with a carrier.
Organizations that serve individuals experiencing homelessness or survivors of domestic violence sometimes provide clients with older phones without a service plan for making emergency calls. Users of these types of 911-only phones should check with the organization that provided the phone about their options.
Low-income individuals concerned that their 911-only phones will no longer be supported should consider applying for service through the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program. Information about eligibility, participating providers, and the application process can be found at LifelineSupport.org.
AT&T, with just under 98 million customers, will shut its 3G network down the soonest — in February — and has been communicating with users along with T-Mobile and Verizon for the past couple years about sun-setting 3G.
“We plan to end service on our 3G wireless networks so that we can redeploy under-utilized and less-efficient 3G spectrum to better support next-generation technologies and services,” said AT&T spokesperson Lesley Merritt.
The burgeoning 5G network is undoubtedly among that technology, but its roll-out has been rocky in some places.
Last week, AT&T halted the activation of new 5G wireless service near some U.S. airports after the nation’s largest airlines said the service could interfere with aircraft technology, according to the Associated Press.
The Federal Communications Commission, which auctions radio spectrum bands, determined that the band used by 5G cell towers could be used safely in the vicinity of air traffic. But major airlines warned that flights could be grounded or delayed if the roll-out takes place near major airports.
The Federal Aviation Administration plans to conduct further study, and Verizon officials said that while they are launching their 5G network, they will “voluntarily limit” its use around airports,” the AP reported.
Anyone unsure about whether their device needs upgraded from 3G is encouraged to contact their service provider.

So long, 3G
Cell phone companies worldwide, including in the United States, either have shutdown or will shutdown service for devices using 3G, or third-generation cellular technology. 4G was introduced in 2010 and the 5G broadband mobile network in 2019.
2002
Verizon introduces commercial 3G technology in the U.S. 1G, which offered voice-only, analog service, came around in the 1980s.
3.2 million
Estimated number of Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile customers (1% combined) who still use older 3G phones and technology.
2007
Apple introduces first iPhone, dramatically changing the smartphone market – which started in 1994 with IBM’s Simon Personal Communicator.
301 million
Estimated number of smartphone users in U.S. Figure is expected to rise to 311.5 million in 2025.

Source: Verizon, GSMA Intelligence, Statista, Trib research

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .
Support Local Journalism and help us continue covering the stories that matter to you and your community.
Support Journalism Now >
What is 5G?
3G wireless networks are sunsetting to help make way for next generation 5G, or fifth generation, technology — which cellphone companies have been rolling out for a few years.
The technology is being touted as offering far more than advancement in cellular performance but also able to deliver a wave of business and industry innovation. This includes the promise of advancing autonomous vehicles, modern manufacturing, smart cities, telehealth and other fields that would rely on a universe of internet-connected devices through better and more reliable connectivity, faster speeds and by being able to connect up to 10 times as many devices than 4G technology.
— Associated Press

TribLIVE’s Daily and Weekly email newsletters deliver the news you want and information you need, right to your inbox.
1-800-909-8742
Fax (724) 779-8743
210 Wood Street
Tarentum, PA 15084
© 2022 Trib Total Media | All Rights Reserved
About Us
Advertise
Career Opportunities
Contact Advertising
Contact Newsroom
Contact Us
Feedback
Request Correction
Resource Center
Scholarship Opportunities
Send Letter to the Editor
Send News Tip
Subscribe
Subscriber Services
Blog
eFeatures
Email Newsletters
eTrib
Facebook
Home Delivery
Instagram
LinkedIn
Marketing Minute
Store Locations
TribLIVE App – App Store
TribLIVE App – Google Play
Twitter
Arts & Entertainment
Best of the Best
Business Directory
Circulars
Contests
Coronavirus
Lifestyles
Local
News
Obituaries
Opinion
Our Publications
Real Estate
Sports
Video
Weather
Cookie Settings
Privacy Policy
Terms of Service

source