As our phone networks transition to 5G, you may not be too concerned about what happens to that slow, crummy old 3G infrastructure.
Phone companies plan to shut down their 3G networks this year and shift their resources to newer technologies, a move that may have surprising implications for a number of electronics that still rely on 3G.
For example, cars may use 3G for sending automatic crash notifications to emergency services, which potentially saves lives. Other merely convenient features, such as traffic updates and navigation, could also stop working.
All of these disruptions could affect car resale value, CNBC says, simply because the vehicles no longer do all the things they did when new.
Cars’ electronics aren’t the only thing potentially impacted. Many older internet-connected devices could lose functionality, including certain medical devices, tablets, smartwatches, home security systems, and other connected products, the Federal Communications Commission says.
What to do if you have affected devices
In many cases, manufacturers are offering some combination of hardware or software upgrades to address the end of 3G. Check with them to see what solutions are available, and how much upgrades might cost.
For cars, Consumer Reports has compiled a list of affected vehicles, plus what manufacturers are offering and associated deadlines.
Older phones will be affected too. If your device is from before 2015, it may be time to upgrade.
When the networks will shut down
Each of the major phone providers plans to shut down its 3G network this year, although each has announced its own timetable: