AT&T is shutting down its 3G network. Here’s how it could impact you

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AT&T is about to drag the plug on its 3G community Tuesday, with different main US carriers anticipated to observe swimsuit later this yr. The transfer impacts all the things from older telephones to house alarm methods and roadside help methods.

To maneuver its cell prospects over to 4G with out service interruptions, AT&T (T), which owns CNN’s guardian firm, has been offering free substitute telephones to many customers with a 3G system. It has additionally been making an attempt to alert prospects to the community adjustments by way of varied strategies.

“For almost two years, we have proactively despatched quite a few communications by way of junk mail, invoice messaging, emails and textual content messages to assist prospects transition to subsequent era networks earlier than 3G providers finish on February 22,” AT&T instructed CNN Enterprise in an announcement.

AT&T is shutting down its 3G networks as a part of a larger effort to re-use the spectrum for 4G and 5G — newer requirements which are extra environment friendly than 3G. T-Cellular (TMUS) will do the identical within the third quarter and Verizon (VZ) will achieve this by the top of the yr.

This is what it is best to know concerning the 3G shutdown.

What merchandise will likely be impacted?

The shutdown will affect individuals nonetheless utilizing 3G Kindles, 3G flip telephones, the iPhone 5 and older fashions in addition to varied Android telephones. It can additionally have an effect on house alarm methods and medical gadgets equivalent to fall detectors. Some in-car crash notification and roadside help methods like OnStar will have to be up to date or changed, too.
For those who’re undecided which community your telephone is on, open Settings, faucet Community and Web, after which choose Cellular Community on Android gadgets. On iOS, select Settings, Mobile after which choose Mobile Information Choices. AT&T additionally has a dedicated webpage to find out in case your system will likely be impacted by the shut down.

It may be more durable to inform with different on a regular basis merchandise. For those who’re undecided whether or not the system depends on 3G, you may name the producer or automotive supplier.

What can I do about it?

For many who do not want to do away with their 3G cell gadgets, there are some workarounds. In principle, will probably be potential to entry an internet browser by way of Wi-Fi or make calls over wi-fi on a 3G telephone if the consumer has an app enabling voice-over-internet protocol, equivalent to Fb Messenger. Equally, individuals with a 3G e-reader will nonetheless have the ability to obtain new books on the system by way of Wi-Fi.

Different 3G merchandise could also be extra sophisticated. My Alarm Heart, a house safety methods enterprise, has warned prospects that sure alarm methods will have to be changed by a technician to keep away from potential disruptions. “Even when your alarm seems to operate, it’s going to now not talk with our central service station to inform us that emergency providers are wanted,” the corporate states on its web site.
Normal Motors (GM), which owns OnStar, began pushing over-the-air updates in October to automobiles launched way back to 2015, together with fashions from Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac, which can be impacted by the transition. As a common rule, most automobiles constructed within the final 5 years with connectivity are utilizing 4G modems. If the automotive does run on 3G, the producer might supply an improve program or the wi-fi provider can present an adapter with a modem that may be plugged right into a car.

Why is that this occurring?

The 3G community launched in 2002 and have become the driving pressure behind the early App Retailer increase across the finish of that decade. The wi-fi firms later moved on to 4G and extra lately 5G networks.

Final month, AT&T and Verizon turned on C-band 5G networks, an vital set of upper radio frequencies that can supercharge the web. The change will enable customers to, for instance, stream a Netflix film in 4K decision or obtain a film in seconds. (Verizon mentioned its C-band speeds attain almost 1 gigabyte per second, about 10 occasions as quick as 4G LTE.)

Solely a small portion of wi-fi prospects are nonetheless utilizing 3G networks. Verizon mentioned in a weblog put up that 99% of its prospects have already upgraded to 4G LTE or 5G, and AT&T mentioned lower than 1% of its cell knowledge site visitors runs on 3G networks. T-Cellular didn’t reply to a request for remark about its 3G consumer base.

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