3G service is ending, cutting off millions of cell phones

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Cell phone carriers will be dropping 3G service sooner than many people may realize.

AT&T will begin shutting down its 3G service on Feb. 22 — the first carrier to end the service.

Michelle Jones says she has to find her mom a new phone because of the change.

“I think she has a flip phone,” she said.

Verizon and T-Mobile will also end their 3G service later this year.

It’s all part of an FCC plan to free up the spectrum for 5G.

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Kevin Leary isn’t happy. He says many people can’t afford new phones.

“I think it’s bad,” he said. “A lot of people can’t afford these new phones. They are so expensive these days.”

An AT&T spokesman said it’s “helping customers navigate this transition.”

The company added that it would  be providing free replacement phones to most people using older flip phones.

“We plan to end service on our 3G wireless networks on February 22,” AT&T said in a statement. “This will help free up spectrum to better accommodate next-generation technologies and services. We have been and continue to communicate with our customers via direct mail, emails and text messages, as we help them navigate this transition. This includes providing free replacement phones to a substantial majority of customers.”

Other Devices Also Impacted By 3G Shutdown

The Associated Press reports that 1.5 million families still have 3G home alarms, which also need to be upgraded, and about a half a million people have medical alert devices that use 3G.

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The key for all cellular customers is to check with your provider as soon as possible so phones and safety devices don’t go dark when 3G is shut off.

That way, you don’t waste your money.

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John Matarese

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