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With the arrival of 4G and 5G cellular service, 3G has become obsolete and today AT&T will shut down their 3G network and prepare to upgrade the existing towers with newer 5G service. AT&T is the first of the three major carriers to completely shut down 3G service. T-Mobile has plans to terminate its 3G network in July (although it has turned off some legacy Sprint 3G towers already) and Verizon will keep 3G around until December 2022.

This is a big change for those people who still have older phones. As of today, those older phones on the AT&T network will stop making calls, including calls to 9-1-1, receiving text messages and internet services. If you still have an older phone running exclusively on the 3G network, you'll need to visit your providers' store and upgrade to a newer device.

What to do if you have a 3G phone.

You should visit your carrier's website or retail store and upgrade your phone to a compatible device that works on 4G or the 5G network. They may be running a special on new phones or have one that could qualify as a free phone.

What other things could be impacted by the loss of the 3G network?

It's not just phones that are going to be affected. Tablets, certain medical devices, smart watches, car SOS services, home security systems and other connected devices are going to be affected. My alarm system uses 3G technology to communicate with the monitoring company, so we had to upgrade or our systems would not communicate with each other. Vehicles that have crash alert features, some navigation features and other systems may no longer work. You can check to see if your make and model is affected and what may need to be done to have it communicate again.

Why is the 3G network being turned off?

Basically, to free up space within the digital spectrum to support newer technology like 5G. This isn't the first time something like this has happened. It happened when 4G was deployed and implemented and the 2G service was retired.

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