3G Replacement May Affect Ability To Reach 911 – What Consumers Should Know:


Mobile phone customers might not be able to complete a call to 911 in 2022 if they don’t keep up with some changes.

The nation’s three leading wireless carriers are phasing out 3G service and are moving on to 4G or 5G. Some are doing it as early as February, while some others are waiting until closer to the end of ’22, according to the Maryland 911 Board.

There is concern that the word may not make it to some people who have older phones for emergency use only. Those that have been handed down to other family members or may have been donated to a domestic abuse shelter are also affected.

Maryland officials say most users of these services will be notified directly if this discontinuation affects them.

People of lower income who are concerned that their 911-only phones may not longer be supported may consider applying for service through the federal Lifeline Program. For more information about eligibility and participating providers, please visit  www.lifelinesupport.org.

According to the FCC’s 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.

For more information, please visit  fcc.gov/consumers/guides/plan-ahead-phase-out-3g-cellular-networks-and-service).