Tuesday, March 21

3G blackout: how to know if your phone will be obsolete | Digital Trends Spanish

Do you use a phone that is several years old? Then you may need to replace it so you don’t lose service as a result of the shutdown of 3G networks on major carriers in the United States. If you have doubts, we tell you how to know if your phone will be affected by the 3G blackout.

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In 2022, the major telephone operators in the United States will begin to eliminate the old 3G networks to make room for more advanced technology, such as the 5G network and its promise of high speed rates.

If you bought a phone after 2020, you probably won’t have to worry about the 3G blackout. But if your device is older then you should check what kind of networks it uses to communicate.

When will the 3G network be closed?

Getty Images

The 3G blackout will depend on each company, but the commitment to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is that the network will no longer be operational by the end of 2022 throughout the United States.

The schedule is as follows:

  • AT&T: February 22, 2022.
  • T Mobile: March 31, 2022.
  • Sprint: June 30, 2022.
  • Verizon: December 31, 2022.

According to the FCC, users of other smaller carriers, such as Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk and wireless carriers like Lifeline, will also be affected, because they use AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile networks.

How will the 3G blackout affect

When the 3G blackout occurs in your company, the affected phones will stop working and become completely unusable.

In this way, you will not be able to make or receive calls, send text messages or connect to data services. Even emergency calls, such as 911, will not go through either.

How to know if your phone will still work

A person holds an iPhone 4S and a Galaxy S3 phone
The iPhone 4S and the Samsung Galaxy S3 are two of the phones that will no longer be operational on 3G networks. Getty Images

The measure will affect all 3G and 4G devices that are not compatible with HD Voice, also called VoLTE (for Voice on LTE), so most of them are equipment with about a decade of life.

In Apple’s case, it’s all phones before the iPhone 6 from 2014 or the iPad 2 tablet from 2011; while in Samsung they are the cell phones that arrive before the Galaxy S4 of 2013.

Even though We have a list of affected phones, if you want to confirm the validity of your device, the first thing you should do is check the type of signal that appears on the top of the phone. If you don’t see 4G or 5G, it’s probably not compatible with the latest networks.

But you can also find out manually. Although it may vary depending on your device, in older Galaxy devices the process is as follows:

  • Opens Settings or Setting.
  • Choose connections.
  • Choose More networks and later Mobile networks.
  • choose network mode.
  • Check what type of network your phone uses.


ATT has set up a website for its clients to check if their devices will continue to operate once the 3G network is shut down. He even has a detailed list on all equipment compatible with their networks. What’s more, offers options to replace older phones for both contracted and prepaid customers.


Although it does not have information about phones on its networks, Verizon also offers some options to replace older devices for both business, home and prepaid customers.

T-Mobile / Sprint

T-Mobile and Sprint also do not have information on which customers could be affected by the outage, although they suggest that customers log in to their accounts and check if they are eligible for upgrades.

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