3G is Going Away — What it Means for You

3g going awaySimilar to the ways we listen to music and watch movies have changed, cellular networks are evolving too — all major wireless providers plan to shutter their 3G cellular networks this year.

3G networks are the wireless equivalent of being on dial-up internet access years ago. Built in the early 2000s, 3G networks are slower, less efficient and not equipped to support the way we use smartphones today. Americans increasingly depend on their ability to connect to the internet for just about everything and the latest generation of wireless, 5G, is capable of delivering massively faster speeds, enabling and improving everything we rely on our smartphones to do.

As wireless companies continue to invest in building out their 5G networks, 3G networks will be shut down to make room for this new technology and, ultimately, deliver a vastly superior wireless experience. That’s because there’s a limited supply of available spectrum — the airwaves that wireless signals use. Wireless companies can take the airwaves once used for 3G and start using them to add more bandwidth to 5G. And more spectrum means better coverage and faster speeds for consumers.

If you have a phone that still relies on 3G, your wireless provider will contact you before their planned shutdown, and you’re most likely eligible for a free device upgrade.

Even if your phone isn’t from the 3G era, if you aren’t yet one of the millions who’ve upgraded to 5G, the end of 3G means it’s time to trade up for a new device that can take full advantage of faster 5G networks, according to industry experts. Keeping affordability and connectivity in mind, wireless providers are always offering deals.

Research 5G coverage and speeds from the providers where you live and like to travel. The wireless industry has changed significantly since the 3G era, so you may be surprised to learn which network is delivering the fastest and most reliable coverage today.

It’s also a good time to take a look at your phone plan, especially if you’re on a limited data plan and want to stream music and videos — or just stop hunting for Wi-Fi.

Along with great coverage, find a plan with built-in benefits, such as free international data roaming, gas savings and discounts on everyday items to make the most out of your mobile phone.

Connectivity is more essential today than ever, underscoring the importance of the evolution to 5G. From entertainment and gaming to education, the latest wireless technology can connect you to everything that matters, faster than ever before.

T-Mobile was the first wireless provider in the United States to launch nationwide 5G and, thanks to its merger with Sprint in 2020, the company says it now has the largest, fastest and most reliable 5G network, covering nearly everyone in the country. For more information on the future of 5G, visit t-mobile.com/5G.