Shutdown of 3G networks could impact 911 service availability
Published on October 12, 2021
The Weld County Department of Public Safety Communications is joining the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in alerting those using non-4G compatible devices, devices that don’t support Voice Over LTE technology or living in areas where 4G service isn’t available that they could lose cellular service — including the ability to call or text 911 — as early as January of 2022. The service interruption is due to the nation’s major cellular providers eliminating their 3G networks, according to an FCC release.
The shutdown of 3G networks will not affect users of 4G or 5G devices that support Voice Over LTE technology or traditional landline service. However, customers using non-smartphones or living in rural areas with no 4G coverage will most likely be impacted by the loss of 3G coverage, according to Tina Powell, Interim Director of the Weld County Department of Public Safety Communications.
“Please know that this is not something Public Safety Communications has control over; it’s a move by cell phone providers. As big as Weld County is, there may be some people who don’t have access to 4G coverage and those who have older cellular devices not capable of receiving 4G service,” she said. “Because this change could impact someone’s ability to call or text 911, It’s important people contact their provider to verify their coverage area and that their device will work.”
The FCC said in its release that mobile networks are eliminating 3G networks to increase space for 5G technology. While this could impact users of AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, it could also impact prepaid customers as many providers utilize coverage of the major carriers mentioned above.
What you should do:
Remember, the shutdown of 3G networks will not affect users of 4G or 5G devices that support Voice Over LTE technology. For those who feel they may be impacted, the FCC recommends visiting their provider’s webpage for the latest information and contacting them to verify if their device will still work. Carrier specific information about the phasing out of 3G can be found on the FCC’s website.
To learn more about Public Safety Communications, visit https://www.weldgov.com/Government/Departments/Public-Safety-Communications.