In case you didn’t know, AT&T’s 3G network in the United States will be shutting down later this month, and other firms will follow suit later this year. If you have a new phone, you probably haven’t heard much about this, but those with older phones are hurrying to switch to 4G and 5G networks in order to maintain their data. This shutdown, however, will have far more ramifications than just smartphones; a vast array of critical devices still rely on the outdated but perfectly adequate 3G network, and the shutdown will have significant ramifications.
Home alarm systems, in-car assistance features, medical gadgets, tracking systems, and other devices all rely on 3G to function, and while some will be upgraded in time for the shutdown, others will be left behind. Millions of cars in the United States utilize 3G for onboard GPS systems and features that alert first responders when the car is involved in an accident. Manufacturers such as Chevrolet, Buick, and Cadillac have responded to the shutdown by issuing easy software updates that will restore functionality and link the car to 4G networks, while many other automobiles may lose the emergency crash notification permanently.
If you’re concerned about how this will affect your automobile, Consumer Reports offers an up-to-date list of affected manufacturers and models. Medical devices, such as systems that inform caregivers when there is an emergency and systems that monitor patients with pacemakers, such as the Merlin@homeTM transmitter, will also be affected by the shutdown. These firms are now sending out adapters for systems that accept them, although, in some circumstances, the device will need to connect to a WiFi network to stay connected to the Internet.
Home security systems would also be impacted, as most popular versions have relied on 3G to deliver messages since 2016. Most security businesses have already moved their subscribers to other data networks, but if you think your security system might use 3G, contact your security provider. AT&T’s 3G network will be turned off on February 22, and T-Mobile aims to shut down its network by the third quarter of this year; Verizon’s network will likely be turned off by the end of 2022. For many people, staying connected to the Internet will require completely replacing some equipment.
CNN quotes Roger Entner, analyst and creator of Recon Analytics, as saying, “A few million linked devices in the smart home area still need to be replaced, including my meter for my solar panels.” “Over the last two years, some companies have begun warning their consumers that service will be discontinued soon, but as of six months ago, many goods still haven’t been replaced.”