AT&T began to shut down its 3G network starting February 22, 2022. The other major carriers, Verizon and T-Mobile, are also closing down their 3G networks this year in order to free up spectrum for 5G. RIP, 3G.
So, what does this shutdown mean for you? It means that, if you own a phone that only works on a 3G network, it will no longer receive a signal. You will need to upgrade to a new device. Some devices may just require software updates. The 3G network shutdown doesn't just impact phones - tablets, smartwatches, home security systems, vehicle SOS services, and other connected devices are also impacted.
But get this: if you have a 4G device that supports Voice-Over-LTE (VoLTE) on the AT&T network, the upcoming 3G sunset shouldn’t be a problem for you.
So should you be concerned? If you have an older phone that either only connects to 3G or that has 4G but does not support VoLTE on the AT&T network, you’ll want to read on - because you need to take some quick action.
After the 3G network sunset, phones that only connect to 3G networks will no longer get a wireless signal on the AT&T network. Zip. Zilch. Nada. You could still use such a phone on wifi for data services, but that will be about it. You won’t be able to make or receive phone calls or texts.
Phones that have 4G capability, but that do not support VoLTE, will be able to access data when connected to the wireless network - but they won’t be able to send or receive calls or texts. Some international models of mobile phones that support VoLTE overseas but not on the AT&T network are included in this group. That’s because devices that support 4G LTE, but not VoLTE, use the 3G network for calls and texts - and AT&T is throwing the “off” switch on their 3G network in just a few short days.
What about HSPA / HSPA+?
HSPA (High-Speed Packet Data Access) and HSPA+ were great technologies when they came out - they provided a substantial increase over earlier cellular data speeds. But they’re both forms of 3G technology. They even offered speeds that are similar to 4G, which is why they were sometimes jokingly referred to as “faux-G” (pronounced “fo-jee”). However, the fact that HSPA and HSPA+ are both 3G technologies means that devices that use them will be affected if those devices don’t also support actual 4G and VoLTE.
The 3G network shutdown will impact devices with 3G HSPA or 3G HSPA+ that do not include 4G VoLTE or 5G capabilities. If your phone has HSPA or HSPA+, but also supports 4G VoLTE and 5G, you should be fine.
Devices that will work after February 2022
What is your next step?
Now, if you have a phone that only supports the 3G network, or that does not offer VoLTE - we got you.
But we need to give it to you straight: if you fall into this camp, you’re going to need a new phone. We know that change isn’t always fun, but we will try to make it as painless (and inexpensive!) as possible.
But first, please make sure that your device will indeed be impacted by the 3G network shutdown. Is your phone 3G only? Does it support VoLTE? We have a helpdesk article that provides the necessary guidance so that you can quickly understand what your current device capabilities are.
If your phone has reached the end of the technological line, it’s probably time to change it. But that can be an opportunity to get a smarter phone and an even better service plan!
Update your phone
It’s possible that even if your phone supports VoLTE, you will need to enable that feature on your device. This helpdesk article will walk you through those steps.
If you only have to update your phone, here are the steps you need to take.
Change your phone
If your current phone will not work even if you update it, it means that you will need a new one.
This is your time to decide what sounds better for you: continue with the same carrier, phone service plan, and mobile operating system (iOS or Android) or explore new opportunities.
Carrying on with the same carrier will probably feel like the most comfortable option. However, we would like to take a moment here and be honest with you: the major brands are expensive. And their service tends to leave a lot of people unhappy. Being in this industry for years, we have seen this time and again—ridiculous prices for poor service and overpriced plans.
As in many industries, there are amazing alternatives for better plans and phone prices out there if you want to check out some innovators. It is well worth looking into those companies before making a decision.
What Red Pocket Mobile is doing about it
Look, this whole shutdown of the 3G network by AT&T was not your choice, nor was it ours. You just found yourself in the middle of it, having a new issue added to your plate. Naturally, you want to deal with it, hopefully quickly and conveniently, and move on with your life.
What we can do is to help you navigate the uncomfortable situation the shutdown may put you in. Having been in this industry for 16 years, our experience showed us how to best guide our customers through a journey like this, where together we can find the best device, network, and service plan for them.
What does “the best” mean here? A number of cool things:
The wireless network with the broadest and fastest coverage where you live, work and play.
A phone that comes with all the bells and whistles that you want - and if you want to be friendly to your wallet, leaves out features that you don’t need.
A wireless plan that gives you all the connectivity you need at a price you’re comfortable with.
Here at Red Pocket Mobile, as a leading mobile service provider, we are our customers’ biggest fans. We love delighting people when they realize that they keep their coverage and their phone number, but get better customer service and a much better price.
"It's really about giving people better ways of connecting with families, friends, and co-workers in this hyper-busy world we live in," said Joshua Gordon, CEO at Red Pocket Mobile. “We’re relentless advocates for our customers, because life is just better when your service provider has your back.”
Concerns about the future
A common concern is that “I’m just going to get a new phone and then the 4G network will be obsolete in no time as well.”
Sources like CBS claim that - at least for now - 4G is going to be around for a while. It will likely be at least several years before the 4G network is, in turn, sunset.
If you want to be even better equipped for the future, though, it can’t hurt to get a new 5G capable smartphone and a plan to be future-proofed!
Well, there you have it. It feels like the end of an era almost, don’t you think? If you’ve been using a 3G-only phone, it probably does.
But the good news is that, if you’re looking for the best deals for wireless phones and service plans, you’re in the right place at the right time!
Enter coupon code: SUNSET50 at checkout to receive discount. Taxes and fees may apply. Coupon code is single use only. Valid one per customer. Terms and conditions apply. Visit www.redpocket.com/shop/specials to place an order.