HOUSTON — Why could your phone stop working in the near future if you have an older model?
3G networks are shutting down
Starting in 2022, all the major cellphone carriers will shut down their 3G networks. That means millions of people in the U.S. will be forced to get a new phone. 3G technology is pretty old — according to the Washington Post, Verizon launched the first 3G network in the U.S. in 2002. 4G was launched in 2010 and starting in 2019 carriers rolled out 5G. Now they want to focus on expanding that newer network without the cost and hassle of maintaining the older version.
Old phones won't be able to make calls, use data
So what will this mean? If you have a phone or device that can't access 4G or 5G and relies only on 3G, it will no longer be able to make phone calls — and apps and websites will not work using a cell connection. You won’t even be able to call 911, but you will still be able to do some limited things hooked up to a WiFi network.
Free or low-cost replacements
Carriers say they are alerting customers, and you should be able to replace your phone for free or at low cost if you have a contract. But choices will be limited. And it’s not just phones that could be affected. The post reports some e-readers, alarm systems and portable hot spots could be impacted. So if you have older technology that relies on a cell network, call the company to make sure it will still work.