AT&T commences 3G network shutdown, forcing us to move on

Galaxy S20+ 5G network with SIM cards
Galaxy S20+ 5G network with SIM cards (Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • AT&T's 3G network shutdown commenced on February 22.
  • The company first has previously published a list of phones that will continue to work following the shutdown.
  • Anyone still using a 3G phone will need to upgrade to continue reliably using AT&T's network.

It's been a long time coming, but the death of 3G has officially begun as AT&T shuts down its 3G network on Tuesday, February 22.

AT&T is the first among U.S. wireless carriers to bid adieu to the aging network as it moves to repurpose the spectrum towards its 5G buildout. T-Mobile comes next after the company delayed its shutdown to March 31 at the behest of Dish Wireless. Verizon's 3G network will shut down on December 31.

AT&T already released a list of smartphones that will still work after the shutdown in case you're curious, but there's a good that your phone is among them if you're currently reading this.

However, if you're among those that still rely on the older 3G phones, AT&T has likely already contacted you about the next steps and upgrading your phone. The company has also published a post explaining some of the ins and outs of the shutdown and what it means for consumers affected by it. Some users even received free Galaxy Note smartphones to replace their older 3G-dependent phones.

Fortunately, you won't have to spend too much to upgrade, as just about any of the best Android phones under $200 will work, and you'll likely be able to find some under $100. Or you can splurge a little more for a 5G-capable smartphone.

Hopefully, the shutdown will signal the beginnings of a much improved 5G network from AT&T, which lags behind T-Mobile and has been criticized by Google's former CEO for its poor speeds.

Derrek Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.