As major US carriers move toward 5G, they’ve started to phase out their 3G networks.
When AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile retire their 3G networks, incompatible devices will no longer have service. This will affect 3G devices and devices that can’t use voice over LTE (VoLTE) or HD voice.
You won’t be able to text or make calls, even when dialing 911. While you won’t be able to use 3G data, you’ll still be able to access the internet via Wi-Fi.
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 shut down Sprint’s 3G on June 30, 2022, and its own on July 1, 2022.
- Verizon deactivated its 3G on December 31, 2022.
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, you can search for a comprehensive list of devices, including phones, tablets, and smartwatches, that will continue to work with AT&T’s network. Search AT&T’s list of compatible devices
- If you’re a T-Mobile customer, you’ll be directly notified to upgrade your device. Read T-Mobile’s general notice
- If you’re a Verizon customer, you can search a list of impacted devices. Check out Verizon's list of impacted devices
How do I look up my phone model?
If you own an iPhone, view the model and number by going to “Settings” > “General” > “About”.
If you own an Android phone, view the model by going to “Settings” > “System”. For some phones, you’ll go to “About phone” or “About device”.
If you own another phone, you can generally find the model by going 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 the shutdown?
AT&T has a list of which tablets, smartwatches, and wireless home devices will remain compatible on their 3G network. Check out AT&T’s list of compatible devices
Will mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) be affected?
Operators 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.
What should I do to stay connected?
To stay connected, you may need to upgrade to a newer device that supports 4G VoLTE or HD Voice. It’s possible that you won’t have to though.
First, check if your device supports VoLTE.
- Learn more from Apple about VoLTE on iPhone devices
- Learn more from Android Central about enabling VoLTE on Samsung devices
It’s also possible that your device may just require an upgrade to the latest software version. AT&T has a list of devices that specifies these models with an asterisk (*). Check out AT&T’s list of compatible devices, including those that only need a software update
Carrier 3G shutdown announcements
You can find 3G shutdown announcements AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile here: