The world has changed significantly in the last few decades, and cell phones have been a big part of that change. Over the past several years, these personal pieces of technology have become almost ubiquitous in modern society. Where once the reach of a cellular device centered around forms of communication like talking and texting, now they can accomplish various tasks.
From the comfort of a personal cell phone, people can do everything from paying for their monthly utilities, applying for credit cards, shopping online, video call loved ones, all while still enjoying talk and text. The amount of impact that cell phones have had on society is substantial, and for many people, it can be hard to imagine navigating daily life without one.
Along with the cultural changes that advanced communication and technology have brought to people’s lives has also come the mundane side of maintaining these devices. If you have ever owned a cell phone, you know that feeling when you accidentally smash the screen or it starts not working correctly, indicating you need an upgrade. Certain events in the lifespan of a cell phone are very familiar to the market that invests in them, like upgrading to the latest and greatest model or switching cellular plans for more optimal coverage.
One such event that doesn’t often happen in cellular devices, but has a significant impact, is when an entire network goes down. While this may not be a ‘normal’ occurrence, it has happened before and will continue. The most recent network shutdown occurred in February 2022 when the GSMA 3G network went offline.
Because these events don’t happen often, some people might not know precisely what this means and how it impacts their cell phone usage. If you have been curious about the 3G shutdown and what it could mean, here is everything you need to know.
It’s About More than Phones
You might not have known that shutting down the GSMA G3 network affected more than just cell phones. A network provides service to an entire generation of devices that link wirelessly. While the most prevalent devices that utilize networks are cell phones, these networks are designed to transfer data wirelessly for more than just a smartphone.
Think of the internet and its connection to so many different kinds of devices. Most smartphones have a wifi chip that allows them to connect to the internet, which is useful in situations where a cellular signal is hard to attain, but a wifi signal is available. In the same way, a cellular network like GSMA 3G is connected to various devices with the capability.
This allowed cars to connect to internet service or even medical equipment. If you have ever purchased a tablet like an iPad, or a smartwatch, you most likely chose between the wifi only or the network model. Pretty much any kind of smart device that would benefit from being connected to cellular service and accessing the internet could have this capability.
When a network goes down, all devices dependent on it are affected.
Can 3G Devices Still Operate?
When a network goes down, the most impact it will have on devices dependent on that network is that it prohibits them from accessing it in general. This is important because all other device features won’t be affected. For example, a cell phone that is 3G dependent will not be able to make phone calls or text messages using cellular data. However, if that device has wifi capabilities, like the iPhone’s iMessaging features, which are fully functional, they will still be operational via wifi.
What Should I Do if This Affects My Cell Phone?
The reason that a network goes down is simply based on capacity. Technology is constantly evolving and moving forward, and when new and better systems are created, it takes capacity to run them. For example, 3G did not go down in 2022 because it wasn’t a good network, but because 4G and 5G are better, major phone services can’t keep them all running.
This, unfortunately, means that in the case of 3G going down, if you don’t have a 4G capable cell phone, you will need to upgrade. Thankfully, many options like Red Pocket Mobile provide flexible cell phone plans at affordable rates.
It may be disappointing to upgrade to a phone when you love your current 3G device. However, the benefits will vastly outweigh the inconvenience. Investing in a cell phone that can connect to a more robust, faster, and better network like 4G or 5G is a choice you won’t regret making.