3G is about to retire. Will your “ancestral” electronic products be affected?

3G, for some young people today, may already be a product of the “old era”, but for users in their prime, it carries many memories.
Even those who do not know much about the development of information technology have somewhat heard of the competition between CDMA, WCDMA, and CDMA2000.
However, everything has a farewell day, and the 3G that once accompanied people is about to fade out of people’s vision.
Recently, several foreign operators announced that they were starting to shut down 3G networks, marking the beginning of its twilight as an important link in the history of information technology.
But there is still a question: Will the shutdown of 3G networks have an impact on some old electronic products and related services, and is there any way to reduce these impacts?
The end of 3G network has already begun
The operators that have recently started shutting down 3G networks are mainly those in the United States. In September of last year, the Federal Communications Commission announced that mobile network operators should shut down 3G networks using older technologies from January 1, 2022, and released a rough timetable.
So starting this year, major American operators began to develop their own 3G network shutdown plans.
The 3G network of AT&T, the second largest operator in the United States, will be officially closed on February 22, 2022. Xiao Hei couldn’t help but say, what a memorable date this is.
T-Mobile originally planned to shut down its 3G network in October last year, but it has now been postponed to July 1, 2022. Sprint, which has been acquired by T-Mobile, will shut down its 3G network on May 31 this year. Verizon, the largest operator in the United States, will shut down its 3G network on the last day of this year.
Looking around the world, the plan to shut down 3G networks is no longer news.
In Europe, 19 operators from 14 countries have planned to close their 3G networks by 2025, and Germany has announced the closure of all its 3G networks by 2022.
Vodafone and other European operators have shut down their 3G networks.
China’s operators have to shut down 3G earlier. Taking China Telecom as an example, as early as June 2020, China Telecom Yunnan Company began to gradually close the 3G EVDO data service.
In addition to shutting down 3G networks and accelerating the elimination of outdated 3G technology, China Telecom began to terminate the warehousing of 2G/3G mobile phone terminals as early as 2018. By 2019, it is even more required that 5G devices should not have CDMA mode.
▲ The iPhone 13 series no longer supports telecommunications 2G and 3G networks
It can be seen that at a time when the promotion of 5G technology is in full swing, the 3G network, which was born in 2000, is approaching the time to withdraw from the historical stage.
Closing 3G networks is not just a trend
The reason for shutting down 3G networks is mainly related to the development of 5G networks.
On the one hand, the “general trend” is indeed a factor. As a mobile communication technology born more than 20 years ago, its network speed is no longer sufficient to support the basic needs of today’s users.
In addition to this reason, there are two other relatively important reasons. First, the current maintenance cost of 3G networks is relatively high.
According to relevant data, although the network speed of 3G networks is only one tenth of that of 4G networks, its overall operating cost is still higher than that of 4G networks.
On the one hand, with the support of VLOTE technology, 3G can do just as well as 4G, and it can do even better. This makes many users willing to take the risk of “driving traffic overnight and losing a suite” to actively upgrade the 4G package when the 4G package is just launched.
According to the data in the 2021 Communication Industry Statistics Bulletin, currently only 13.3% of domestic users still use 2G or 3G mobile phones, and most of them are 2G users. In European and American countries, this figure is generally below 10%. This has laid the foundation for the gradual shutdown of 3G networks.
On the other hand, maintaining the 3G network across the country is also a costly task. According to statistics, by the end of 2020, there are still more than 2.6 million 2G and 3G base stations in China.
Under the combined effect of these two factors, gradually shutting down 3G networks will not have a particularly significant impact on users, but also can save a lot of money and invest in the construction of 5G.
Another factor is also related to the construction of 5G.
According to relevant statistics, currently, 2G and 3G networks deployed by operators in many countries are mostly based on mid and low frequency bands such as 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2100 MHz. The electromagnetic wave coverage in this frequency band is relatively broad, which can effectively improve the user’s online experience. After the 3G network is shut down, these frequency bands can be reused for 5G networks.
The 2G network is also about to exit the historical stage. Taking China Telecom as an example, Xiaohei mentioned earlier that China Telecom has terminated the warehousing of 2G/3G devices since 2018. The iPhone 13 series no longer supports the 2G network of Telecom, while not supporting 3G.https://forum.stoneitech.com/
Coincidentally, China Mobile has gradually retired its 2G network in Chongqing since February this year.
The situation abroad is similar. While some countries are planning to shut down 3G networks, they are also preparing to shut down 2G networks. Other countries are first considering shutting down 2G networks.
Some operators in Australia announced the shutdown of 2G networks as early as 2018, which is a bit earlier than the shutdown of 3G networks. In other countries in Asia and South America, local operators are also more inclined to shut down 2G networks first.
Although there are times for shutting down, the underlying reasons are the same: on the one hand, saving money for the construction of communication facilities, on the other hand, freeing up frequency bands to provide better services for users of new technologies.
Only in Africa, where most users are still using 2G and 3G networks, operators have no plans to close down.
What devices will be affected when the 3G network is turned off?
For most people, shutting down 3G networks doesn’t seem to be a big deal: today’s phones already support 4G, and even 5G phones are not a minority. Other devices can also support 4G or Wi Fi.
However, for some users, shutting down 3G networks will indeed have a significant impact on their lives.
First, there are some elderly people who are still using functional machines. Especially in underdeveloped areas, some elderly people still maintain the habit of “I won’t change my phone if it doesn’t break down.” Xiaohei has seen elderly people still using Nokia feature phones more than a decade ago.
▲ Some foreign netizens were still using 2G phones until the 2G network was shut down
You can also search for some relevant news in China.
In addition, the shutdown of 2G and 3G networks also attracted the attention of some Kindle users abroad last year.
In some countries, the Kindle has launched versions that support wireless networks. As we all know, the Kindle is a magic tool for making instant noodles. As long as it doesn’t cause any major problems, it can even accompany you to make instant noodles for decades or even decades. This “longevity” has also brought new problems: If 2G and 3G networks are turned off, these Kindles will no longer support wireless internet access.
Of course, some friends will say, “Kindle, just for reading books, and wireless network functionality is not that important.”.
Having said that, in fact, the Kindle has a built-in browser, which is really good for browsing the web. There are still many users abroad who use it. After 2G or 3G networks are shut down, users of these devices cannot comfortably access the Internet while camping with devices of the appropriate size.
The above may not affect most small partners, but what Xiaohei will say next may have a significant impact on some small partners.
One of them is that some vehicles’ networking features will not be available.
Taking Tesla, which relies heavily on the network, as an example, the Tesla Model S model produced before June 2015 allegedly uses an old-fashioned MCU chip. If these vehicles did not undergo chip upgrades before the 3G network was shut down, they would only be able to connect via Wi Fi.
Some models from other manufacturers also face such problems, which can affect a range of functions including system OTA upgrades, network content access, road assistance, and emergency collision alerts.
Currently, some automobile manufacturers have launched corresponding update services to update chips for users.
In addition to the above mentioned aspects, some home safety systems, medical or fire alarms, GPS trackers, etc. also rely on 3G networks to operate. Although these devices are not usually noticeable, they play a very important role.
If your friends purchase similar devices at home earlier, perhaps upgrading them would be a better option.