What you need to know
Mobile wireless carriers are sunsetting 3G networks in order to be able to use that spectrum for more modern technology that more effectively employs the limited spectrum. This transition will allow the companies to support more customers and offer higher speeds with the same amount of spectrum. While these improvements are valuable, they come with a price: the transition will also require the use of VoLTE (Voice over Long-Term Evolution) technology, a form of voice over IP, also referred to as “HD Voice” by AT&T and Verizon. Mobile wireless handset devices more than a few years old likely do not support VoLTE and will no longer work when the 3G technology is shut down in 2022.
Other devices in addition to cell phones will be affected The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) advises consumers to prepare for the 3G shutdown.
The Alarm Industry Communications Commission (AICC) filed a petition with the FCC to extend the 3G data service termination of AT&T through December 31, 2022, citing the “harmful, even deadly, impact this sunset would have on tens of millions of people in millions of homes, businesses and government installations due to a loss of central station alarm protection service.” Public Knowledge et al have filed comments regarding the petition stating they support the transition but are also in favor of the AICC’s request to move out the time frame, stating that it may not be in the public interest to shut down 3G networks “in light of the ongoing resurgence of COVID-19 and the uncertainty caused by the emergency of the Delta and other variants.”
Additionally, the Rural Wireless Association (RWA) filed a letter with the FCC advising it of the results its member survey concerning the impact of the 3G sunset on rural consumers, “and of the need for the carriers to implement Voice over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE) roaming, before the shutdown.
- E911 Board 12-16-21 Press Release on 3G Network Retirement
- What to know about 3G networks shutting down in 2022 - The Washington Post
- 3G Network Shutdown Deadlines—And Why You May Need to Upgrade Soon – NBC
- Plan Ahead for Phase Out of 3G Cellular Networks and Service | Federal Communications Commission (fcc.gov)
- How to prepare for 3G shutdown - Reviewed
- America's 5G Future | Federal Communications Commission (fcc.gov)
- AICC Petition for Emergency Relief 5-10-21 FINAL.pdf (fcc.gov)
- Public Knowledge et al Comments on AICC petition (fcc.gov)
- How to Stay Ahead of the 3G Network Sunset | Digi International
- Rural Wireless Association 3G_Sunset_ex_parte_letter to the FCC 10-18-21
- AT&T Reply to AICC 3G Sunset Petition (fcc.gov)
- Act NOW - 3G is Going Away in 2022 - Wireless Customer Support (att.com)
- CDMA Network Retirement | Verizon Wireless
- T-Mobile Delays Sprint 3G Network Shut Down For Three Months to Give Customers Time to Switch | 10-23-21 Tech Times
- 3G Network Shutdown FAQs | Support | OnStar