Telecom giant AT&T Inc., which is currently focusing on the rollout of the new 5G service, is set to sunset its 3G services network later today in its bid to free up spectrum and infrastructure to redeploy and better accommodate next generation technologies and services, such as 5G. The company had announced the 3G network sunset date way back in 2019.
AT&T had urged users to migrate to 4G/LTE that offers better spectral efficiency, higher network capacity, improved cost efficiencies, and increased bandwidth, as well as lower latency and energy efficiencies.
The company says 53.1 percent of Internet of Things (IoT) deployments run on 2G or 3G networks and will be impacted by the shutdown of the networks. The connected devices include home alarms, critical medical alert equipment and personal emergency response systems that many seniors rely on. These devices will not connect to internet after today, unless upgraded to a new network.
Mobile carriers are shutting down their 3G networks, which rely on older technology, to make room for more advanced network services, including 5G. As a result, many older cell phones will be unable to make or receive calls and texts, including calls to 911, or use data services.
AT&T is among the first carriers to sunset the 3G network. Verizon had announced that it will finish shutting down its 3G network by December 31, 2022.
Meanwhile, T-Mobile had announced that it will finish shutting down Sprint’s 3G CDMA network by March 31, 2022 and Sprint’s 4G LTE network by June 30, 2022. T-Mobile also announced it will shut down T-Mobile’s 3G UMTS network by July 1, 2022, but has not yet announced a shutdown date for its 2G network.
The network shutdown will not only impact phones, but also other devices, such as certain medical devices, tablets, smart watches, vehicle SOS services, home security systems, and other connected products that may be using 3G network services.
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