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Saturday November 26, 2022

Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

Old Cellphones May Not Work in 2022

I have an old flip phone that I carry around for emergency purposes. I have heard that these devices will soon be phased out. Is this true?

Yes, it is true! If your mobile phone is more than a few years old, it will probably need an upgrade in the very near future.

Major cellphone carriers are shutting down their older 3G networks in 2022 to free up airwaves for 5G and other advanced services. If you are using an old 3G phone, like millions of other Americans, you will need to get a new device to make calls, text or reach 911.

You should also know that it is not just older cellphones that will be obsolete. Home security systems, medical devices and personal emergency response systems that still use 3G will also be affected. Adding to the confusion, older 4G phones that do not support modern cellular voice technologies, such as Voice over LTE or HD Voice, will be impacted. Those customers may need a software upgrade or a new phone.

Is Your Phone Affected?

Cellphone carriers may have sent alerts customers in a combination of texts, letters, phone calls and emails. If you are not sure about your phone, contact your carrier or check their website for a list of affected devices.

Another way to see if your phone is 3G is to look up the international mobile equipment identity number which can be found by pressing *#06# on his keypad. Once you have it, go to and type it in the search bar to get the phone's details. If the phone has a frequency of 900 megahertz (MHz) or 2100 MHz, it is 3G. You can also look for a "3G" icon at the top corner of his phone, but please note not all 3G phones may have that icon.

How to Upgrade

If you find that you do need to upgrade your cellphone, some carriers may offer discounts and special promotions on replacement devices. If you are worried about having to learn your way around a new device, you will be happy to know that there are plenty of modern new flip phones available that work on the next-generation networks.

If you decide that you would rather forge ahead without a phone upgrade, then you will need to cancel the service. Some carriers will let you cancel your plan without any penalty. However, if you forgets to cancel and do not upgrade to a working device, the company will not automatically stop charging you just because you are unable to access their network.

How to Recycle

If you replace your old cellphone, the best way to dispose of it is to recycle it. Large retailers often offer recycling programs for old electronics. You can search for local recycling programs using your preferred search engine.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published December 10, 2021
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