Have An Older Phone? It Might Be A Brick After This Looming Update

by SharonKurheg

Back in the day, you could count on technology to last a while. Sure, since television began,  screens got bigger, then went from black & white to color. The advent of remote control and cable were cool. And when flat screens and surround sound came out, each was a whole new world. But except for when everything went from analog to digital and you couldn’t use analog TVs anymore (at least not without a digital converter), you could always still use that old technology, if you still owned it.

Nowadays? Not so much.

The big cellphone carriers, are planning to shut down their 3G network in 2022. With that, anyone who has an older cell phone, that can only use 3G, will no longer be able to use that device (except for Wi-Fi), once their carrier shuts down the network in their area.

Oh, and as a double whammy, WhatsApp will stop working on over 50 phones starting on November 1st. Again – older ones that can only handle older technology.

But first the 3G phones:

The shutdown dates start in January 2022. Each carrier has a date when they plan to decommission their respective 3G service:

  • Sprint’s 3G: Jan. 1, 2022
  • AT&T’s 3G: Feb. 22, 2022
  • Sprint’s LTE: June 30, 2022
  • Verizon’s 3G: Dec. 31, 2022
  • T-Mobile’s 2G and 3G: Not yet announced

If this doesn’t affect you but your mom’s carrier is Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk, or several Lifeline mobile service providers – all of those smaller carriers utilize AT&T’s, Verizon’s, and T-Mobile’s networks.

Other devices, such as certain medical devices, tablets, smartwatches, internet hot spots, vehicle SOS services, home security systems, and other connected products may be using 3G network services.

What phones is this happening to?

iPhones older than the iPhone 6 will no longer work for calls or data after the change. Samsung Galaxy S4 and ones older that are 3G devices. Some newer models may require an update to work. If you have other devices, check with your carrier or the manufacturer’s website.

Why are they doing this?

From the FCC: “As mobile carriers seek to upgrade their networks to use the latest technologies, they periodically shut down older services, such as 3G, to free up spectrum and infrastructure to support new services, such as 5G. Similar transitions have happened before. For example, some mobile carriers shut down their 2G networks when they upgraded their networks to support 4G services. Mobile carriers have the flexibility to choose the types of technologies and services they deploy, including when they decommission older services in favor of newer services to meet consumer demands.”

What can I do?

Most carriers are offering free and low-cost replacement phones to their customers who only have access to 3G. Check with your carrier for details.

And about WhatsApp:

Lots of people use WhatsApp when they’re traveling overseas since it doesn’t use up data.

Unfortunately, according to WhatsApp, they’re blocking access to over 50 older phone models to make the app run more securely.

Effective November 1, the popular instant messaging app will no longer work on phones running Android 4.0 (or earlier), or Apple iOS 9 (or earlier). Of course, some phones will be fine if you do a software upgrade. But if your phone is very old and can’t support anything better than the aforementioned versions, then your Whatsapp will stop working in early November.

This isn’t the first time WhatsApp cut support of older phones. In the past, they’ve removed even older Android devices, iPhones, and all Windows phones from its list of supported devices.

Feature Image: Jon Fingas / flickr

Want to comment on this post? Great! Read this first to help ensure it gets approved.

Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and sign up to get emailed notifications of when we post.

Whether you’ve read our articles before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!

This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Lance October 1, 2021 - 9:57 am

Pretty sure the iPhone 5 and 5S also are LTE, so you may want to check your sources if you’re claiming only older than 6. And really, a 6 came out in 2015 — by the time of the shutdown, it will be a 7 year old phone. At that point, it’s not even getting OS and security updates and many apps won’t even work anymore.

mike murphy October 1, 2021 - 10:41 am

seems sprint ( t mobile now) is ripping off customers that have the pioneer lifetime plan at the onset of their system.
maybe some slick lawyer will file a class action lawsuit.


Leave a Comment