CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The Central Illinois Regional Dispatch Center is warning people with older cell phones that their phones may stop working as national 3G networks are phased out.

AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are all discontinuing 3G service in 2022 to make room for 4G (LTE) and 5G networks. Many older phones that run on 3G will be unable to send and receive calls and text messages once the networks are shut down. Even emergency services such as 911 may be affected.

Most users will be notified by their carrier directly if 3G discontinuation affects them. However, people who have phones for 911 purposes only may not be notified if they do not have active service with a provider.

AT&T and Verizon will finish shutting down their 3G networks by February and December, respectively. T-Mobile, which acquired Sprint last year, will finish shutting down Sprint’s 3G network by the end of March and Sprint’s 4G network by the end of June. T-Mobile will shut down its own 3G network by the beginning of July and its 2G network at a yet-to-be-announced date.

Other carriers like Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk and several Lifeline mobile service providers may also be affected because they use the networks of AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.

Other devices such as tablets, smart watches, vehicle SOS services, home security systems, medical devices and other connected products may also be using 3G network services. People are encouraged to contact the monitoring company or service provider to confirm if their devices may be impacted.

For further information, contact Desir’ee Wright at Central Illinois Regional Dispatch Center at 217-424-1078.