AT&T is sending out replacement phones to people still using 3G-only models

Peter, 07 September 2021

AT&T shut down its 2G network in January 2017 and it is preparing to do the same with its 3G network in February 2022. However, some of its subscribers still have 3G-only phones, so the company is offering free replacements.

Infographics about AT&T's transition away from 2G and 3G Infographics about AT&T's transition away from 2G and 3G
Infographics about AT&T's transition away from 2G and 3G

Subscribers are supposed to ask for one if they want it, but the carrier seems to have taken a proactive approach and sending out replacement phones whether people asked for them or not. And they are not bad phones either.

Some have received a Samsung Galaxy Note9, others a Note10 or S9, others still a Galaxy A11. It’s an eclectic mix to say the least.

Android Police reached out to AT&T to ask what’s going on and got the following response:

We have not changed our plans to replace 3G network-dependent devices. However, inventory constraints mean we sometimes must find substitutes for some devices.

In other words, the carrier is sending out random phones because that is what it has in stock. And considering that some of those are quite old (e.g. the Galaxy S9 is from early 2018), they have probably been sitting in a warehouse somewhere for a while . As for who gets what, it is a lottery, though even a Galaxy A11 for free is a good deal.

You can check out this PDF for a list of devices that will continue to work after the 3G network is switched off. You can also consult this page to check which of your phones is affected. Basically, you need a phone that supports 4G LTE and HD Voice.

If you have a 3G-only phone but haven’t received a replacement, you can dial 611 to speak to a representative or schedule an appointment in one of AT&Ts’ retail stores. More details here.



Reader comments

  • msueh
  • 23 Mar 2022
  • jMm

just needed to say "I totally agree with your assessment of att!" They were "upgrading', they said, so out of their big hearts were sending replacement phones to those of us who would be "inconvenienced". Those replacem...

  • MadMom
  • 22 Mar 2022
  • jjt

Yes. If everyone took the time to fill out the FCC complaint, something might happen. I doubt it. The only way they listen is through loud protests and cancelled contracts. Keep in mind that having to go through this is hard for anyone but now consid...

  • CivicJournalist
  • 14 Mar 2022
  • k0u

Anyone else have this problem. Being charged $1000 for not turning in my trade in for the $800 discount for a new iPhone 13 pro, because no one was able to accept my trade-in since ATT canceled my account when I didn't get my iPhone within 30 da...

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