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Maryland 911 Board warns that 3G Network mobile phones may stop working in 2022

Cell phone
Posted at 6:52 AM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-14 06:52:50-05

REISTERSTOWN, Md. — The Maryland 911 Board is issuing a warning that older phones may stop operating in early 2022 due to the retirement of 3G networks and support for phones using 3G service.

This may include other devices that use 3G connectivity, such as some medical alert devices, tablets, smart watches, and home security systems.

The nation’s three major wireless carriers, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, have each announced that they plan to discontinue 3G service in favor of 4G (LTE) and 5G service in 2022.

According to the FCC’s website, AT&T will discontinue service in February, T-Mobile/Sprint will discontinue service between March and July, and Verizon will discontinue service at the end of 2022.

Most users of these services will be notified directly by the carriers if this discontinuation affects them. However, users of older phones used for 911 purposes only may not be notified if they do not have active service with the provider.

It has long been the practice of some organizations for the homeless or domestic violence shelters to provide clients with older phones with no service, since those phones could still be used to call 911 in an emergency. Users of those older 911 only phones should be aware that they may not work after 3G service is discontinued.

Low-income individuals who are concerned that their 911 only phones may no longer be supported should consider applying for service through the federal Lifeline Program.

Information regarding eligibility and participating providers can be found here.