No More 3G: What Does That Mean for Me?

By T-Mobile StoriesAugust 19, 2022

Here’s everything you need to know about older third-generation wireless networks as they are retired.

There aren’t many people out there today who are still whipping out that old-school phone that still runs on a 3G network — CTIA estimates less than 9% of all phones in use are 3G subscriptions. But for the few who still are rocking a 3G-mobile device, it’s time to upgrade your phone. Here’s why.

Across the industry, wireless companies are working to retire older 3G networks in 2022, including  T-Mobile. The reason for this is the future of 5G means using spectrum assets efficiently, by phasing out older, less useful technology to make room for new services and innovations on 5G — and that future, which is already here, is truly exciting!

Who does this affect, and what does it mean for me?

If you’re one of the millions of T-Mobile customers already using a 5G phone, or you’re thinking about getting a new phone, it means you’ll get a better, faster network.

As stated above, a small number of wireless consumers are still using 3G devices. But if you are a T-Mobile or Sprint customer with a phone that relies on 3G, rest assured that you would have received notices about upgrading to ensure you’re still able to use data, text and call. Those notices include offers for a free replacement device, including a free 5G phone.

What is 3G?

The first commercial 3G networks were introduced in mid-2001 but didn’t see massive expansion until after 2007. That’s because the advances 3G provided compared to its 2G predecessor directly impacted the consumer mobile phone — i.e. the smartphone! Combining the abilities of what was often called a “personal digital assistant” or PDA with a mobile phone led to widespread demand for mobile internet connectivity. Suddenly iPhones and Androids were like portable computers and 3G introduced the term “mobile broadband” because its speed and capability made it a great alternative for internet browsing. 3G introduced us to the benefits of apps and GPS systems and made our entire life-on-the-go possible.

Why should I upgrade to a new 5G device?

You’re in luck! With thousands of  retail locations, you can find a store near you that has Mobile Experts who can help pick out a new phone that best suits you and your needs, from today’s freshest flip phones for you OG types to the latest and greatest 5G smartphones that tap into America’s BEST network.

T-Mobile is the leader in 5G with the country’s largest and fastest 5G network. And T-Mobile is helping customers make the most of these capabilities with the Magenta Max plan, the first plan to be built specifically for what T-Mobile’s 5G can do thanks to its industry-leading coverage with Extended Range 5G and even faster speeds with Ultra Capacity 5G.

With Netflix (on Us!), 40GB of high-speed hotspot data, activating up to 4K UH streaming, unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi, as well as Scam Shield Premium protection, it’s not surprising that over 50% of Magenta MAX customers are using a 5G smartphone and streaming 2x more video, using 2.5x more data for social media, and gaming 5x more than other T-Mobile customers.

5G continues the evolution of wireless after 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G. In fact, it was 4G LTE that brought with it what many call the streaming era. Its fast mobile web access allowed for high-quality video streaming, which powered gaming services, HD video and video conferencing.

With 5G, high amounts of data can be transmitted even more efficiently than 4G LTE. That means superior speeds to download movies and shows or video chat on the go, support for more connected devices to get a faster signal at large events, and low latency for quick responsiveness during data-demanding activities, like cloud gaming.

And the Un-carrier’s Extended Range 5G covers nearly everyone in the country — 320 million people across 1.8 million square miles. 235 million people nationwide are covered with super-fast Ultra Capacity 5G, and T-Mobile expects to cover 260 million in 2022 and 300 million next year.

Hey! That all sounds great! What if I am currently with another provider? Is there some 5G love for me?

Yes! Switching to T-Mobile is easy! In fact we’ve put together a simple step-by-step guide with handy links and have a number of plans that suit you best.

For more information on 3G network retirement, go here.

For more information on how to tap into T-Mobile’s 5G network, go here!