AT&T is shutting down its 3G community. This is the way it may affect you

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AT&T is ready to tug the plug on its 3G community Tuesday, with different main US carriers anticipated to comply with go well with later this yr. The transfer impacts every little thing from older telephones to house alarm programs and roadside help programs.

To maneuver its cellular prospects over to 4G with out service interruptions, AT&T (T), which owns CNN’s dad or mum firm, has been offering free substitute telephones to many customers with a 3G gadget. It has additionally been trying to alert prospects to the community adjustments via varied strategies.

“For almost two years, we have proactively despatched quite a few communications through junk mail, invoice messaging, emails and textual content messages to assist prospects transition to subsequent technology networks earlier than 3G companies finish on February 22,” AT&T advised CNN Enterprise in a press release.

AT&T is shutting down its 3G networks as a part of a higher 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 accomplish that by the tip of the yr.

This is what you need to know in regards to the 3G shutdown.

What merchandise will probably 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 programs and medical units resembling fall detectors. Some in-car crash notification and roadside help programs like OnStar will have to be up to date or changed, too.
When you’re undecided which community your telephone is on, open Settings, faucet Community and Web, after which choose Cellular Community on Android units. On iOS, select Settings, Mobile after which choose Mobile Information Choices. AT&T additionally has a dedicated webpage to find out in case your gadget will probably be impacted by the shut down.

It may be tougher to inform with different on a regular basis merchandise. When you’re undecided whether or not the gadget depends on 3G, you possibly can name the producer or automobile seller.

What can I do about it?

For many who do not want to eliminate their 3G cellular units, there are some workarounds. In concept, it is going to be potential to entry an online browser through Wi-Fi or make calls over wi-fi on a 3G telephone if the consumer has an app enabling voice-over-internet protocol, resembling Fb Messenger. Equally, individuals with a 3G e-reader will nonetheless be capable of obtain new books on the gadget through Wi-Fi.

Different 3G merchandise could also be extra sophisticated. My Alarm Heart, a house safety programs enterprise, has warned prospects that sure alarm programs will have to be changed by a technician to keep away from potential disruptions. “Even when your alarm seems to perform, it is going to not talk with our central service station to inform us that emergency companies are wanted,” the corporate states on its web site.
Basic 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 normal rule, most vehicles constructed within the final 5 years with connectivity are utilizing 4G modems. If the automobile does run on 3G, the producer might provide an improve program or the wi-fi provider can present an adapter with a modem that may be plugged right into a automobile.

Why is that this occurring?

The 3G community launched in 2002 and have become the driving power behind the early App Retailer growth across the finish of that decade. The wi-fi corporations later moved on to 4G and extra not too long ago 5G networks.

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

Solely a small portion of wi-fi prospects are nonetheless utilizing 3G networks. Verizon stated in a weblog publish that 99% of its prospects have already upgraded to 4G LTE or 5G, and AT&T stated lower than 1% of its cellular information 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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