Mobile carriers announced that they are shutting down 3G networks to make room for more advanced network services, including 5G. This means that older technology made for the 3G networks will no longer work by the end of 2022. This includes phones, tablets, smartwatches, certain medical devices, and some assistive technology devices with SIM cards. Phones will not be able to make or receive calls and texts, including calls to 911, or use data services. People with disabilities who use 3G and some older 4G devices need to know about this shutdown and find alternative devices for their communications and assistive technology needs. Many carriers are offering free or low-cost replacement phones or devices.
Some shutdowns began as early as Jan. 1, 2022, though plans and timing to phase out 3G services will vary by company and may change. Consult your mobile provider’s website for the most up-to-date information.
- AT&T announced that it will finish shutting down its 3G network by February 2022.
- Verizon announced that will finish shutting down its 3G network by Dec. 31, 2022.
- T-Mobile 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. It also announced it will shut down T-Mobile’s 3G.
These dates are for completing the shutdowns. Carriers may retire parts of their networks sooner. If your mobile carrier is not listed here, you may still be affected. Many carriers, such as Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk, and several Lifeline mobile service providers utilize AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile networks.
How to Prepare
To prevent losing connectivity, contact your provider immediately or consult its website. Some websites provide a list of devices that will be shut down, as well as information on discounted or free updates for people who need to update their devices. The following links include major carrier webpages that address these topics:
- AT&T provides 3G support on your devices. The website includes a scheduler to make an appointment at a retail store to receive support on your cell phone issues. You can also call 611 on your AT&T mobile phone to speak with a representative. Learn more.
- Verizon also provides as list of devices that will lose connectivity in 2022. The company’s site recommends that users contact a local Verizon representative to update their technologies. Be sure to ask about discounts and deals offered for these updates. Learn more.
- T-Mobile’s website states, “Sprint and T-Mobile merged in April 2020 … Sprint customers with 3G (CDMA) devices will be able to pay the same or less for 4G/5G service from T-Mobile and can upgrade to a new device at no cost. These customers can log in to their accounts to check upgrade eligibility and view deals on the latest devices, including offers for a free 5G phone.” Learn more.
The Federal Communications Commission developed a consumer guide (PDF) with information about the shutdown. Additionally, the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Technology Access Program created the 3G Shutdown 2022 Resources webpage with information on obtaining internet and internet-capable devices.
More Info From TCDD
TCDD Announces New Grant Opportunities
The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) has issued Requests for Applications for New Initiatives, TCDD Policy Fellows, and a Landscape Analysis for 18+ Transition Programs. These projects will expand knowledge and support related to people with developmental disabilities (DD). The deadline to apply for these grants is March 22, 2022. Deadline has passed for the opportunity to apply.
Share Your Priorities with Disability Rights Texas
Disability Rights Texas (DRTx) is conducting a short survey to determine what is important to Texans with disabilities. The input you provide will help DRTx determine what issues to focus on in 2022 and beyond. The deadline to complete the survey is March 31, 2022. The survey is available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
Apply for Partners in Disability Leadership
Partners in Disability Leadership has extended the deadline to apply for its 2022 program to Monday, Jan. 31. The virtual leadership development program, coordinated by The Arc of Texas and funded by TCDD, is for professionals who serve Texans with DD and are interested in becoming stewards of disability rights. Learn more and apply.
Share your Experience from Winter Strom Uri
Sociologist Angela Frederick is conducting research interviews with people with disabilities and chronic health conditions who experienced prolonged power outages during Winter Storm Uri. Interviews will be conducted via Zoom or phone, and your identity will remain confidential. Participants will be offered $15 Amazon gift cards in gratitude for their time. If you are interested in volunteering to take part in this study, please email Angela Frederick. This research is conducted under the approval of the University of Texas at El Paso Interdisciplinary Research Building.