3G mobile phone networks shut down in US
Hundreds of Bermuda mobile phones could no longer offer voice service while roaming in the United States.
USA phone carriers have been shutting down their 3G networks. AT&T and T-Mobile completed shutdowns of their 3G wireless networks by the end of June.
The last major provider, Verizon, said their customers owning 3G phones might be able to obtain some service until the end of the year. But do not bet on it.
In Bermuda, Digicel has been messaging customers that if they are travelling to the US, they need to have a modern LTE compatible smartphone.
“Please be advised that as of July 1, USA phone carriers have shut down their 3G networks,” the notice said. “Your current device is not LTE compatible, which will result in reduced voice calling quality while travelling.”
When asked about this, Donn Foggo, head of marketing for Digicel Bermuda said: “Traditional voice and SMS services are affected. Not data. All data users will be unaffected.”
How many Bermuda phones are not LTE compatible?
“Very small,” he said. “Less than two per cent.”
The Regulatory Authority of Bermuda has estimated there are more than 62,000 mobile phones on the island.
How do phone owners know if their unit is LTE compatible?
Digicel said: “In their network settings section on their phone, there will be a section for Voice and data. LTE would be visible as an option to select.”
How long will 2G and 3G service be supported by your network, or in Bermuda at all?
“Digicel constantly reviews the optimisation of its customer experience and the mobile networks are no different.”
The network shutdowns of ageing technology was related to the planned introduction of 5G in the United States.
There remain no such plans in Bermuda. A spokesman for the RA said: “In May 2021, the RA lifted the moratorium on 5G technology to be deployed in Bermuda.
“As a result, all Communication Operating Licensees and Integrated Communications Operating Licensee’s in the electronic communication providers are permitted to offer the service without any further approval from the RA.”
How long will 2G and 3G service be supported by your network, or in Bermuda at all? “Digicel constantly reviews the optimisation of its customer experience and the mobile networks are no different.”
One Communications have notes on their website about the issue. They said that for those who have 3G/HSPA only devices their voice (including emergency calls to 911) and data services would no longer be supported on AT&T.
“Data services will no longer work on T-Mobile after they discontinue their 3G/HSPA network services. ”However, for a limited period, voice services might work in certain areas of the USA on T-Mobile’s 2G network. You will still be able to connect to Wi-Fi and use your phone’s Wi-Fi capabilities.”
They also point out that if there is no intention to use the phone while roaming in the US, no action is needed.