In the world of mobile phone technology, 5G is the next big thing. This is the reason for the question “Are 3G Phones still usable?”.
When the iPhone 12 was released last year, Apple made a big deal about 5G connectivity. Even if most people won’t reach the speeds promised by Apple, 5G is going forward. This is with more and more locations being covered as mobile phone companies prepare for the future.
Simultaneously, carriers are decommissioning obsolete 3G networks. As a result of this, People with older phones or basic feature phones will be unable to use them.
However, the demise of these slower networks would affect far more than simply phones. 3G systems are used in millions of cars, as well as countless alarm systems, security cameras, and other devices.
Here’s how you’ll be Affected by the 3G Network shutdown
Why are 3G Networks being Turned off?
Phone companies must stay up with the latest technology and do not want to maintain outdated systems that are rarely used. Maintenance costs, and they take up space that may be better used for newer systems.
Removing older masts frees up room for 5G equipment and makes network management easier. Also, some 3G spectrum can be utilized for 4G traffic (However, it cannot be used for 5G).
Carriers in numerous countries have indicated that 3G networks and 2G networks will be phased out by the end of next year if they are still in operation. In the United States, Verizon will turn off its network on December 31, 2022. AT&T will do so in February 2022. Also, T-Mobile will do so in March 2022. T-Mobile runs both UMTS and CDMA 3G networks.
In the United Kingdom, BT recently declared that EE, the mobile phone firm they operate, will phase down 3G by 2023. Other carriers have stated that their 3G networks will be phased out around the same time.
“3G usage has been steadily declining. It accounts for less than 2% of data traffic over the EE network,” according to BT. But it’s unclear how many devices utilize 3G. Because speedier 4G devices consume more bandwidth and many 3G devices consume very little data. So, shutting off 1/50th of the data still affects millions of devices.
What Are The Devices That Are Affected?
Surprisingly, the UK announcement came only days after I explored purchasing a low-cost feature phone with a pay-as-you-go SIM to keep in my car in case of an emergency. Because the majority of these phones are 2G or 3G devices. Nearly all feature phones will lose network access in the near future.
There are several 4G feature phones available, and while these phones aren’t particularly expensive. The newer 4G variants will be significantly more expensive than the prior edition. In terms of iPhones, you probably won’t have to be concerned.
The iPhone 5, released in 2013, was the first iPhone to feature 4G LTE, and it’s unlikely that many older iPhones, such as the original iPhone 3G, still support 3G.
The iPad 2 was the first cellular iPad with 4G, debuted in 2012, and older devices are unlikely to be widely used. However, many other devices will be affected. 3G connectivity is frequently used by home alarms, either as the only means of informing alarm companies or as a backup if wi-fi is unavailable.
Millions of alarms in the United States will be disconnected. However, not all alarm systems are affected. Ring confirmed to me that its base stations use 4G for cellular access. They claim that they had prepared ahead of time because they were aware of the impending 3G shutdown.
Many cars have navigation systems that use 3G connectivity, which will be phased out. Some medical tracking devices will be made available. Elderly people’s mobile Personal Emergency Response System (MPERS) gadgets that utilize 3G will need to be changed.
In addition to sensors and standalone security cameras, 3G is used in industry. However, 4G demands more powerful technology and requires more electricity. It makes the transition more difficult.
Surprisingly, the UK is set to keep its 2G network since numerous gadgets, such as smart energy meters that cost billions of pounds to install, rely on the older technology. Furthermore, the EU wide eCall emergency system in cars uses both 2G and 3G networks. Thus, 2G/3G will need to be maintained. This answers the question, “Are 3G Phones still usable”.
Finally, if you have an older Kindle ebook reader with cellular access that is not one of the latest models, you will lose the cellular access that you paid for when you purchased the device.
Unlike smartphones, Kindles can live a long time, and millions of users will lose access to this feature. Only the current Paperwhite (fourth generation, issued late 2018) and the Oasis (third generation, released mid-2019) kindle devices support 4G.
You still have a year or two until the 3G network is decommissioned, and I expect Amazon to provide owners a discount on newer devices. It’s natural for technology to advance, but you should be aware that you may no longer be able to utilize any of these older products.
For more information on “are 3G phones still usable”, kindly contact us via our contact page.