What Happened With 3G Coverage In The US?
A guide to the US 3G Network shut down.
From July 2022 mobile network operators in the US will retire the 3G network (this was also known as UMTS). Our 1GLOBAL US users are well prepared for this shut down and are able to utilise the new 5G and LTE / 4G services.
However for non-US users, i.e. users roaming from Europe to the US there are some important changes you need to be aware of which may impact your experience.
Why is this change happening?
The legacy 3G networks are being replaced by 4G networks and 5G networks which are more efficient, faster than 3G. 3G frequencies can be reused for the use in 4G and 5G networks. AT&T have also retired the 2G mobile networks, whilst T-Mobile still maintain the 2G networks.
For users travelling to the US you can access the T-Mobile 2G and 4G network and the 4G AT&T network.
I am a Roaming user – how will the US turning off the 3G cell sites affect me?
Before you visit the US you need to be aware that you need a compatible device to continue to receive data and voice service. Most handsets on sale over the last 5 years support LTE / 4G services, with Apple this is anything from the iPhone 5 or later which went on sale in 2012, although not all model’s from all manufactures support voice over the 4G networks (VoLTE) (more on this below).
If you have a 2G/3G handset you will only be able to receive voice calls with more limited coverage from July 2022, and limited 2G data (it will be very slow).
I have an LTE / 4G handset – will my service change?
If you have an LTE / 4G phone, you’ll be able to use mobile data on T-Mobile’s LTE / 4G network and make calls on T-Mobile’s 2G network.
If you’re in a part of the US without coverage from T-Mobile’s network, you’ll be connected to AT&T’s LTE/4G network.
If you are on the AT&T network you will be able to access the internet, but you won’t be able to make phone calls until VoLTE services are launched later in the year.
What is VoLTE or 4G Calling?
4G Calling, also known as Voice over LTE or VoLTE, is a way of making phone calls over the data network, it’s a standard that has been widely adopted over the last 5 years and is used domestically in many countries.
However for roaming users this is not the case. The great news is that 1GLOBAL has been a pioneer of a new international standard for roaming and become the first ever MVNO to achieve the new GSMA roaming standards. This means we will be one of the first MVNO’s to launch roaming VoLTE in to the US.
What will VoLTE mean to me and when can I have it?
VoLTE will mean far better calling experience, with higher quality calls and better coverage across the US, it will also mean your device no longer need to use the 2G networks in the US, giving a much better experience.
1GLOBAL will be launching the new VoLTE services before the end of 2022 but you will need a VoLTE compatible handset. A list can be provided by your account team as this is regularly updated. With Apple this is any device from the iPhone 7 or later.
Some of the very earliest 4G phones don’t support 4G Calling though. Plus, some phones can’t use 4G Calling when you’re overseas.