Verizon, AT&T and Cricket have all released statements regarding a 2G/3G shutdown or “sunsetting” of phones. From what KELOLAND News has gathered that means phones using the 2G/3G network will no longer have service.
Different wireless providers have different “shutdown” dates. Some are as late as 2022, and some changes are as early as December 31, 2019.
These three companies have pages setup on their website for FAQ’s.
Most wireless providers are expressing the same reasoning as to why they’re shutting down the 3G network.
We’re shutting down our 3G/non-LTE 4G network to make space for our more advanced wireless networks,”AT&T
Data traffic on Cricket’s wireless network has increased exponentially. Transferring capacity to our more advanced wireless networks will help more customers have a better experience,”Cricket
We are moving all devices to our HD Voice LTE network, which offers superior coverage and performance compared to previous generation networks,”Verizon
But what exactly is 3G? It’s a mobile cellular communications system that is considered “third generation” or “3G.” The generation after would be 4G or, “fourth generation,” which makes it faster due to the network it uses.
Verizon responded to KELOLAND News saying:
For several years we’ve been publicly saying that our 3G CDMA network will remain available through the end of 2020. Virtually all traffic has already moved off our CDMA network onto our 4G LTE network. To facilitate a smooth transition to 4G LTE capable products and services, we are no longer allowing devices that are not 4G LTE capable to be activated on our network,”Jeannine Brew Braggs – Verizon
So your phone may still work in 2020, but according to the chart above, after December 31, 2020, if your phone is 3G or older, you won’t be able to use the wireless services for Verizon.
Gary Hanson is the chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission. He explained to KELOLAND News what exactly the differences are in the generations.
- 1G – analog
- 2G/3G – Uses GSM and CDMA frequencies. (Think of these two frequencies as a platform)
- 4G/5G – Uses LTE. (A faster platform developed after 2G/3G.) (This platform holds a higher standard on the equipment used on this platform)
2G and 3G are like having a bachelor of science. Compare that to 4G and 5G, which is like having a master’s instead,”Gary Hanson – South Dakota Public Utilities Commission
The network you’re using should be visible at the top of your device, but if you’re unable to tell there is another option.
- Click on Settings
- Click on General
- Click on About
- Click on Settings
- Click on About Phone
Then it will display what phone you have. After finding out what type of phone it is, you can contact your service provider and ask what generation it is and whether you need to buy a new one. You can visit your wireless service provider who will be able to tell what type of phone you have as well.
Whether it’s 2020 or 2022, wireless service providers are all going to switch to 4G and 5G, Hanson says.