Information provided by National Association of State 911 Administrators
The National Association of State 911 Administrators (NASNA) is issuing a warning to consumers that older phones may cease 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, smartwatches, home security systems and other devices. This does not affect landline phones.
The nation’s three major wireless carriers (AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile) have each announced that they plan on discontinuing 3G service in favor of 4G (LTE) and 5G service.
“It’s important that the public is aware that 3G is going away and we encourage our residents to also reach out to friends and family members to make sure their phones are not 3G only,” said Kevin Sowell, Santa Rosa County 911/QI Coordinator. “We want to be sure our residents are still able to call 9-1-1 from their mobile phone during an emergency.”
According to the Federal Communications Commission 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. Residents should contact their mobile provider directly with questions or concerns.
Most users of these services will be notified directly by the carriers if this discontinuation affects them. However, users of older phones used for 9-1-1 only purposes may not be notified if they do not have active service with the provider. Users of those older 9-1-1 only phones should be aware that they may not work after 3G service is discontinued.
Low-income individuals who are concerned that their 9-1-1 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 at www.lifelinesupport.org.