Have a 3G phone? Here’s why it’s time to start thinking about upgrading


As the ramp up to 5G continues, AT&T says it will stop providing service to 3G devices by early 2022.

AT&T, Verizon giving 3G the heave-ho

AT&T announced the planned 3G phaseout on February 20.

“Our 3G network provides services to customers using older handsets and connected devices,” the company said in a regulatory filing. “We are contemplating the redeployment of spectrum currently used for our 3G services and project that we will discontinue service on our 3G network in early 2022, and will manage this process consistent with previous network upgrades.”

The wireless provider noted that some 11% of its postpaid subscribers were on 3G at the end of 2018.

AT&T is far from the only wireless company to announce the phaseout of 3G. Just days ago, Verizon made a similar reveal, saying it expects the end of 3G on its network to come by the end of 2019.

“We are aggressively refarming 3G bands…for 4G LTE use,” Verizon said in a recent regulatory filing of its own. “We anticipate that we will need additional spectrum to meet future demand.”

Here’s why 3G is going away

All this repurposing of spectrum is to clear the way for 5G, which Clark Howard says will be a “game-changer.”

The consumer champ anticipates it will bring changes to the way you watch streaming TV, the monopoly structure of how we do high-speed Internet in this country and what you pay for home Internet/TV service, among other things.

Not to mention what it will mean for the phone in your pocket when 5G is finally up and running!

“If you do something on your phone [with 5G], it will load quicker than your eye can register that the screen has changed,” Clark promises.


What to do if you use a 3G device

If you rely on a 3G phone or other connected device, now is the time to start thinking about upgrading — especially if you are with AT&T or Verizon. You can find great deals on cell phones at our sister site, ClarkDeals.com and see our list of great cell phone plans and deals here.

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