What You Need to Know About the 3G Shutdown

Aug 03, 2022

By the end of 2022, all major wireless carriers will have turned off their 3G cellular networks, leaving some mobile users worried that they’ll be left behind. So why is 3G being phased out and what does this mean for consumers?

Technology is constantly evolving -- we only have to look as far as our cell phones to see that evolution in action -- so it's no surprise that cellular networks are changing to keep up with these advancements. Older 3G networks simply can't keep up with the way we use out phones now. By turning off those networks, cell phone companies can use that bandwidth for newer technologies, like 5G, that provide better coverage and reliability with faster speeds.

Wireless companies are investing big in building their 5G networks, and for good reason: 5G can run between 10 and 100 times faster than a typical 4G connection so you’ll see much faster downloads and streaming capacity. T-Mobile was the first wireless company in the US to launch 5G nationwide. And thanks to their merger with Sprint, they have the largest, fastest, and most reliable 5G network, according to the latest independent benchmarks.

If you're using an older 3G device, don't worry! Most providers are offering free phones to replace these older devices. However, experts suggest upgrading to a 5G phone if possible in order to take advantage of the higher quality 5G network.

You may also want to take this opportunity to reassess your phone plan, especially if you're on a limited data plan and are a big streamer. Some providers have plans with amazing built-in benefits. For example, T-Mobile subscribers get free international data roaming and can choose from a variety of plans, some of which include Netflix, in-flight Wi-Fi with streaming, and so much more!

As we shift away from 3G, be sure to research the carriers in your area and check out the new phones and plans to see what’s right for you. You might be surprised at how much has changed in the past 15 years.