There was a time long ago when 3G was the high mark in mobile data. There was even an iPhone named after it! Nowadays, 5G is the big deal, and 3G is being turned off. When exactly will that happen?
Why Carriers Are Saying Goodbye to 3G
3G was first used in 2001, but it wasn’t until around 2007 that it became widely used on what we think of as modern smartphones. As the name suggests, 3G was the third generation of the cellular standard.
4G LTE eventually came along and replaced 3G in 2009, and it’s still widely used as 5G slowly becomes available in more places. The jump from 3G to 4G was pretty major, but 3G played an important role as the “fallback” network for many years.
As 5G becomes more widely available, and 4G LTE covers the vast majority of the country, U.S. carriers and modern smartphones don’t need 3G anymore. All four of the major U.S. carriers will be shutting down their 3G networks by the end of 2022.
When Will AT&T Shut Down Their 3G Networks?
AT&T will begin shutting down its 3G network beginning on February 22, 2022. After that date, many older devices will stop working on the network. AT&T has created a list of older devices that will no longer have access to 3G.
When Will Sprint Shut Down Their 3G Networks?
Sprint—which is owned by T-Mobile—will have its CDMA 3G network shut down on January 1, 2022. The carrier stopped activating 3G phones one year prior to that date.
When Will T-Mobile Shut Down Their 3G Networks?
T-Mobile will be shutting down its 3G network on January 1, 2022. However, it will not shut down the older 2G GSM network that some devices on its MVNO’s still rely on.
When Will Verizon Shut Down Their 3G Networks?
Verizon delayed its plans to shut down its 3G network several times but has finally settled on a date. The 3G network will be shut down on December 31, 2022.
The good news is these shutdowns shouldn’t affect very many people. As long as your device can access 4G LTE, you’ll be able to still get a connection. 4G coverage has had a long time to expand in the U.S. and while it’s not 100% perfect, it does cover most people.