As major US carriers move toward 5G, they have begun to phase out their 3G networks.
This means that once AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile retire their 3G networks, 3G devices, as well as devices that don’t support voice over LTE (VoLTE) or HD voice, will no longer have service. You won’t be able to send or receive text messages or make calls, even when dialing 911. While this also means you won’t be able to use 3G data, you’ll still be able to access the internet via Wi-Fi.
Will this transition affect my device?
Carriers will no longer support older devices that rely solely on 3G service, (i.e. phones older than the iPhone 6). Back Market stopped selling these models in June 2021.
Here’s what you need to know if you own an older device:
- If you’re an AT&T customer, search this comprehensive list of devices, including phones, tablets, and smartwatches, that will continue to work with AT&T’s network
- If you’re a T-Mobile customer, you’ll be directly notified to upgrade your device (read more here)
- If you’re a Verizon customer, search this list of impacted devices
When will the major carriers retire their 3G services?
If you’re a customer, expect the following retirement deadlines:
- AT&T decommissioned its 3G on February 22, 2022
- T-Mobile will shut down Sprint’s 3G (CDMA) network by March 31, 2022 and its own 3G network by July 1, 2022
- Verizon will deactivate its 3G network by December 31, 2022
How do I find out my phone model?
If you own an iPhone, view the model and number here:
- Go to Settings > General > About
If you own an Android phone, view the model here:
- Go to Settings >
- For some phones, you may have to go to System > About phone or About device
If you own another phone, you can generally find the phone model here:
- Go to Settings > About phone or About device
- Model numbers may also be on the back cover of your phone or under the phone’s battery
What other devices will be affected by this shutdown?
Aside from mobile phones, other devices that rely on 3G networks will also be impacted, such as tablets, smartwatches, and even home security systems. AT&T’s device list includes tablets, smartwatches, and wireless home devices.
Will mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) be affected by this shutdown?
MVNOs such as Cricket Wireless, Boost Mobile, or Consumer Cellular operate on major carriers’ networks and will also be impacted by the 3G shutdown.
For example, Cricket Wireless operates on AT&T’s network, so its 3G service ended on February 22, 2022.
Check out our help article here to see which major network your carrier operates on.
What should I do to stay connected?
To continue using your device, you may need to upgrade to a newer device that supports 4G VoLTE or HD Voice.
- To check if your iPhone has VoLTE, see this article
- To check if your Samsung device has VoLTE, see this article
Some models may simply require you to upgrade to the latest software version. AT&T’s list of devices specifies these models with an asterisk (*).
Read AT&T’s, Verizon’s, and T-Mobile’s 3G shutdown announcements here:
- AT&T: Act now - 3G is Gone
- T-Mobile: T-Mobile Network Evolution
- Verizon: 3G CDMA Network Shut off date set for December 31, 2022