With more talk of 5G enabled devices and wireless companies expanding their coverage maps, it’s time to talk about 3G.
3G technology launched in 2002 with CNN asking “will it catch on?” 4G was introduced in 2009, and is still the current standard, though 5G has been in the works for some time. With the next generation of wireless technology on the way in, 3G is on the way out. Here’s what the top wireless providers are saying about retiring 3G.
When Will AT&T Retire 3G?
Back in March, we reported that AT&T had laid out plans for the transition to 5G, marking February 2022 for the phaseout of 3G.
“To bring you faster speeds and new features, we have to evolve America’s best and also fastest network,” AT&T says in a support article. “One change we’re making is phasing out our 3G network by February 2022. Once we do, 3G devices and 4G wireless devices that don’t support HD Voice will no longer work on our network.”
When Will Verizon Retire 3G?
Verizon has already started the process, with a note on a support page stating: “Currently, 3G / 4G non-HD Voice CDMA devices can’t be activated for any new line of service.” The company expects that those still accessing the 3G network will be transitioned over by the end of 2020, after delaying the shutdown by a year.
When Will T-Mobile Retire 3G?
While T-Mobile hasn’t made any official announcements about when it will sunset 3G, Android Police obtained internal T-Mobile documents that show an “aggressive timeline” that includes customers without T-Mobile VoLTE support no longer being able to use the network beginning in January 2021.
When asked about the document, T-Mobile said: “We’re making great progress building a truly transformative nationwide 5G network. As part of that, we will be phasing out some older technologies over time to free up even more capacity for LTE and 5G. In preparation for that and to give customers the best experience, those activating new lines at T-Mobile will need a VoLTE capable device, which is all we’ve offered for years now and represents the overwhelming majority of devices on the network.”
Each of these wireless carriers has already stated that they are no longer activating new 3G devices, with the assumption that most customers will upgrade their device at some point before 3G service ends completely.
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Jess Barnes attended Edinboro University and spent years working in nonprofit before taking up freelance writing in 2012. Jess has been working for Cord Cutters News since 2017.