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Sunday, January 16, 2022

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5G upgrade to leave older phones without service | News, Sports, Jobs

Upgrades to the next generation of phone service technology will take some older phones out of service early this year, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

Lieutenant Adam Reed, director of the State Police’s Office of Communications, said phones that lose service will not be able to call 911.

“During an emergency, every minute counts, whether you need police, fire, or medical help,” Reed said.

AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile announced plans to shut down their 3G networks to accommodate more advanced services like 5G as early as February, the Federal Communications Commission said.

AT&T has announced that it will finish shutting down its 3G network by February, while Sprint’s 3G CDMA network will follow by March 31. After that, Sprint’s 4G LTE network will be removed completely by June 30 as a result of the merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, and T-Mobile’s 3G UMTS network will shut down by July 1. Finally, Verizon will complete its 3G network shutdown by the end of the year.

Other carriers, such as Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk, and many Lifeline mobile service providers use the AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile network, and will be affected by the change.

This will affect older phones running 3G, and public safety officials say residents need to think ahead with this in mind.

According to The Washington Post, iPhones older than the iPhone 6 will not work for calls and data, including the 5, 5C, and 5S. Samsung Galaxy S4 devices and earlier are 3G devices, and newer models may need an update to function. The iPhone 6 was released in 2014, and the Samsung Galaxy S4 was released in 2013.

According to the state police, most people will be notified directly if switching from 3G to 5G will affect them, but individuals who use phones designed exclusively to call 911 in emergency situations may not receive a notification of this shutdown if they do not have active services.

Low-income individuals whose phones will no longer be supported can apply for the service through the FCC’s Lifeline Program at lifelinesupport.org.

Dana Brigandi, director of development, marketing and programming at The James V. Brown Library, has been helping more and more seniors learn about their smart devices since 2013.

However, she said the service ended during the pandemic due to safety reasons and a lack of concern.

Brigandi said many elderly people have come to the library to extend knowledge already gained from family members introducing them to technology. She also said the pandemic caused a 10-year leap in the technology gap.

“Now a certain demographic and age group is being forced to learn these skills they might not otherwise know.” Brigandy said.

Brigandi said many economically disadvantaged people still own some kind of smart device — a necessity in a world where one needs to apply online for benefits, jobs and unemployment benefits. Brigandy said that’s not something most people think about until it affects them.

“Until my phone shuts off, I don’t even think about it,” Brigandy said about the mentality of these people.

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