T-Mobile has settled on a date for shutting down its legacy UMTS 3G network: it’s July 1st, 2022. The company has updated its Network Evolution support page to reflect the changes. A report last month suggested that the self-proclaimed Un-carrier could call it curtains for its 3G network as early as October this year. But that’s not true. The two-gen-old wireless network standard will live on for a few more months.
T-Mobile has already announced a January 1, 2022 deadline for shutting down Sprint’s older CDMA 3G network. Moreover, the company will also be pulling the plug on Sprint’s LTE 4G network on June 30th, 2022.
You might be aware that T-Mobile and Sprint merged last April. T-Mobile has been since working on moving the latter’s customers to its network. The company hopes to get all Sprint users onboard its network before sunsetting it for once and all next June. The Un-carrier will continue to operate its 4G LTE network though.
Other wireless carriers are killing their 3G networks as well
T-Mobile isn’t the only carrier shutting down its 3G network in the coming months. All major wireless service providers in the US are preparing to kill their older networks to make room for broader 5G deployment. While 4G LTE networks are here to stay for some time until 5G becomes prevalent, the legacy 3G networks are soon going to be obsolete.
Following T-Mobile’s shutdown of Sprint’s 3G network in January next year, AT&T will pull the plug on its legacy 3G network in February. We will then seen T-Mobile kill its 3G network in July. Lastly, Verizon will call it curtains for its 3G network at the very end of 2022, i.e. December 31st, 2022.
So no matter which service provider you are subscribed to, if you own a 3G-only device, you’ll need to upgrade your device in 2022 or you’ll lose wireless services. You’ll require a device that supports 4G LTE connectivity, or even better, 5G. Note that some 4G devices don’t support AT&T’s VoLTE features, so those will not work either. The carrier will notify you if you need to upgrade your device.
AT&T is already offering free 4G-capable devices to its customers who are currently using a 3G-only device. Several users have received a second-gen iPhone SE, RADIANT Core, Samsung Galaxy Note 9, Note 10, Galaxy S9, or the Galaxy A11 over the past few weeks. It now remains to be seen if T-Mobile and Verizon also have something similar in the offering.