Police remind RI, Mass. residents to plan ahead for nationwide 3G network phaseout

Business News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — If you have an older mobile phone, you may need to upgrade your device soon.

Mobile carriers are shutting down their 3G networks to make room for more advanced network services, including 5G, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

As a result, many older cellphones will not be able to make or receive texts or calls, 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).

“We want to make sure that all Rhode Islanders are aware that the 3G phaseout will impact their ability to call 911,” R.I. State Police Col. James Manni said. “If you have an older mobile phone, you may need to upgrade your device to ensure that you have coverage and access to 911.”

Massachusetts State Police also alerted residents and businesses to the impending transition.

On Jan. 1, 2022, mobile carriers will begin the process of shutting down their 3G networks, but timing will vary by company:

  • AT&T announced that it will finish shutting down its 3G network by Feb. 2022.
  • Verizon announced that will finish shutting down its 3G network by Dec. 31, 2022.
  • T-Mobile announced that it will finish shutting down Sprint’s 3G CDMA network by March 31, 2022 and Sprint’s 4G LTE network by June 30, 2022. It also announced it will shut down T-Mobile’s 3G UMTS network by July 1, 2022, but has not yet announced a shutdown date for its 2G network.

People are still advised to contact their mobile phone provider for more information about how their phones may be impacted by the 3G phaseout.

Other devices, such as certain medical devices, tablets, smartwatches, vehicle SOS services, home security systems, and other connected products may be using 3G network services and could also be affected.

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