Some AT&T customers are getting free Galaxy Note devices amid looming 3G shutdown

AT&T Sign Storefront
AT&T Sign Storefront (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • AT&T customers have reportedly begun receiving free Galaxy devices from the carrier.
  • Replacement phones are being sent due to the company's impending 3G shutdown.
  • Phones include the Galaxy Note 9, Note 10, and other older devices.

With companies preparing to shut down older networks, customers stuck with incompatible smartphones are left needing to replace their devices. And while affected customers can always request a new device, AT&T has apparently decided to take a more proactive approach with its replacement program.

A report from Android Police highlights how the site founder Artem Russakovskii received a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 out of nowhere, and others on Reddit have apparently received "new" smartphones as well without requesting one. And while the Galaxy Note 9 is a bit aged, it's admittedly better than the Radiant Core device some users were getting before.

Android Police states that among the confused customers, some are receiving Galaxy Note 10 devices among other phones, and received this statement from an AT&T spokesperson when inquiring about the phones:

We have not changed our plans to replace 3G network-dependent devices. However, inventory constraints mean we sometimes must find substitutes for some devices.

Additionally, AT&T has informed Android Central that replacement devices will carry the same operating system.

AT&T is preparing to sunset its 3G network in February 2022, which is only five months from the time of writing, so the carrier seems to want to get ahead by more or less "upgrading" customers proactively.

T-Mobile has indicated that customers that will be affected by its impending 3G CDMA shutdowns will be able to take advantage of free 5G upgrades but hasn't indicated that it will proactively provide free devices.

Verizon has set a much later date than both carriers for its 3G shutdown in order to give customers more time for the transition, something that Dish Wireless would appreciate. Because of this, it wouldn't be surprising if the carrier didn't offer a similar replacement program; however, we've reached out to clarify plans for the shutdown.

If you are on AT&T and have received a Galaxy smartphone as a replacement device, let us know. For affected customers on other networks, you may have already received correspondence from the carriers on the network shutdown, but you can always contact them for options. Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable options among the best cheap Android phones.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.