With the roll out of 5G internet, all major providers are phasing out their outdated 3G (short for 3rd Generation). The reasoning behind this is to make room for the newest technology. AT&T is the next major player to enforce shutdowns, and they will be discontinuing their 3G services on February 22nd.
Unfortunately, there are an estimated 80 million devices that utilize some amount of 3G technology in North America alone. While it is difficult to know how many of those devices will become obsolete come February 22, the internet providers seem unwilling to delay the roll out any longer. Consequently, industries that have major safety implications for the public will be effected at the end of this month.
3G Shutdown & Electric and Gas Car Safety Features
Safety features are common in most cars today, helping drivers feel more secure on the road. In particular, features like GPS, roadside assistance, and emergency crash protocol all rely on internet function, and with the shutdown of 3G happening this month, certain makes and models are at risk of losing these features entirely.
If you are severely injured in a car accident, your car having internet-based safety features like OnStar ensures that the authorities are automatically notified. These life saving systems cannot function without internet connection.
Every major car company has been impacted by the shutdown, among them is popular electric vehicle company Tesla, and their Model S Luxury Sedan. Though Tesla is offering a $200 upgrade to prevent those drivers from losing important features, some cars from companies like Jeep, Lexus, and Toyota will lose their features for good.
Many models of home safety equipment rely on 3G technology to protect a house from burglary. Once the 3G shutdown happens, owners that failed to update their system will be completely unprotected.
When these alarms become obsolete, they may appear to be working properly, but not be able to communicate with 911 in the event of an emergency. Because of this, the impacted homeowners will have no idea that their alarms are no longer functional. Though the Alarm Industry Communications Committee has filed to extend the 3G shutdown, AT&T is going ahead with their shutdown plans.
Government Issued Ankle Monitors
That same 3G technology is embedded within ankle monitors, to verify the location and sobriety of criminals around the country. The use of these ankle monitors ranges from ensuring that pedophiles maintain a safe distance from schools, to keeping people in compliance with house arrest orders. As you can imagine, if some of these ankle monitors were to go prematurely offline, the public safety risk this would pose. In response, many states are replacing 3G reliant monitors and have filed appeals in hopes of extending the February 22nd shutdown date.
How can you prepare for the 3G shutdown?
To be sure that your phone will work after February 22nd, here is a complete list from AT&T of all devices that will survive the 3G shutdown. Additionally, reach out to your alarm system and personal medical device providers to make sure that your protection will not be interrupted.