Q: I heard that the 3G network is going away. When might this happen?
A: Mobile carriers could shut down their 3G networks as early as January 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 December 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 UMTS network by July 1, 2022, but has not yet announced a shutdown date for its 2G network.
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's, Verizon's, and T-Mobile's networks.
Note: These are dates for completing the shutdowns. Carriers may begin retiring parts of their networks sooner.
Q: What do I need to do if my cell phone currently uses a 3G network?
A: Contact your mobile provider or consult your provider's website for more information about their 3G network retirement plan and whether your phone, or other connected device, may be affected. It is important to plan now so that you don't lose connectivity, including the ability to call 911.
Some carrier websites provide lists of phones that will no longer be supported after 3G networks are shut down. You may need to upgrade to a newer phone to ensure that you can stay connected, and carriers may be offering discounted or free upgrades to help consumers who need to upgrade their phones.
Some phones may only require a software update to enable VoLTE (HD Voice) or other advanced services. If you purchased your phone independent of a mobile provider, you should be able to check whether your phone is 4G LTE (with VoLTE or HD Voice) enabled by checking your phone's settings or user manual, or by searching your phone's model number on the internet, to determine whether you need to purchase a new phone or install a software update.
Q: Where can I go for more information about the phase out of 3G networks?
A: You can visit the FCC page about the 3G network phase out at: https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/plan-ahead-phase-out-3g-cellular-networks-and-service
Q: Does 5G require a 5G data plan?
A: Please check with your carrier for plan details.
- For Verizon: 5G is included on Play More, Do More, & Get More Unlimited plans.
- For Sprint/T-Mobile: 5G available on all current unlimited data plans for no extra charge.
- For AT&T: Access to the 5G network requires an eligible Unlimited Starter, Unlimited Extra or Unlimited Elite plan. All other plans will receive full 4G LTE network services.
Q: Will a 5G phone still work when not connected to 5G?
A: Yes, 5G phone have the capability of working on multiple networks and will work on 4G networks.
Q: What do I need to get 5G service?
A: You'll need:
- A 5G capable phone.
- Be within a 5G coverage area. Major carriers including Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint/T-Mobile are currently building their 5G networks.
- Have a service plan that includes 5G coverage. Please check with your carrier for plan details.
Q: How fast is 5G compared to 4G?
A: 5G networks are designed to carry data up to 10x faster than 4G networks.
Q: What is the advantage of lower latency for 5G?
A: Latency is how long it takes the network to respond to a request. With 5G, latency is greatly reduced, which means you'll experience faster file load times and improved responsiveness.
Q: How will 5G work with multiple users and devices?
A: The new 5G networks will be able to handle a large number of users, devices and traffic demands at the same time. That means no more network slowdowns at the stadium, fewer communication problems in dense cities or during peak usage times.
Q: Can I get 5G internet at home?
A: Yes, 5G home internet will offer ultrafast streaming speeds and whole-home coverage via a direct wireless connection. That means your devices could connect to the internet without suffering from congestion and buffering meaning even more bandwidth-demanding devices could be used at home like virtual reality headsets, augmented reality apps and more.