WICHITA AND WILBARGER COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is warning consumers that older phones may cease operating in early 2022 due to the retirement of 3G networks and support for phones using 3G service.

Other devices, such as medical alert devices, tablets, smartwatches and home security systems that use 3G connectivity may also cease operating.

AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have each announced that they plan on discontinuing 3G service in favor of 4G(LTE) and 5G service next year.

According to the FCC website, AT&T will discontinue service in February, T-Mobile/Sprint will discontinue service between March and July, and Verizon will discontinue service at the end of 2022.

Those users that will be affected by the discontinuation of the 3G networks will be notified directly by the carriers. However, users of older phones used for 9-1-1 only purposes may not be notified and need to be aware that they may not work after 3G service is discontinued.

Some organizations for the homeless or domestic violence shelters have provided clients with older phones with no service since those old phones could still be used to call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

Low-income individuals who are concerned that their 9-1-1 only phones may no longer work can apply for service through the federal Lifeline Program.

Information regarding eligibility and participating providers can be found at www.lifelinesupport.org.

For more information, access the FCC’s guide for the phase-out on their website here.