In order to create more bandwidth for the new 5G cellular network, major cellular providers will discontinue their 3G networks in 2022. Although most cellular customers will not be affected by this change, this shutdown will affect older devices made for the 3G network, including phones, tablets, smart watches, certain medical devices and some assistive technology devices with SIM cards, such as older augmentative communication devices and braille note takers. It is important that people with disabilities affected by this change are aware of this shutdown so they can find alternative devices to address their communications and assistive technology needs.
The Federal Communications Commission developed a consumer guide with more information about the shutdown and urges customers of any network to contact their cellular carrier for more information. Many carriers are offering free or low-cost replacement phones or devices. The Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities thanks the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Technology Access Program for creating the 3G Shutdown 2022 Resources web page with information on obtaining internet and internet-capable devices.
What Should Consumers Do?
- Contact your mobile provider directly or consult your provider’s website for more information about its 3G retirement plan.
- Consumers may need to upgrade to a newer device to ensure connectivity.
For specific information on how customers may be affected, contact your cell phone carrier directly.