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Will You Flip About Flip Phone Deactivation?
Gustave A. Larson is in the process of replacing After Hours flip phones with iPhones at our branches.  This is being done for a few reasons:
  • Our customers have expressed the desire to text and send pictures of equipment to the After Hours phone and the representative will not need to use a personal phone.
  • About 80% of all cell phone users already have a Smartphone
  • Mobile carriers will be no longer be supporting 3G flip phones
In 2020, there is likely to be a push to work towards phasing out 3G. Verizon is the only carrier to publicly state a 2G/3G shutdown date of January 1, 2019. AT&T has already shut down 2G, and is expected to sunset 3G in 2020-2021. Sprint and T-Mobile have not made any public statements, but are expected to follow AT&T and sunset 3G during the same timeline. As for most older flip phones, 2020 will be a good time to upgrade, so you don’t get left in the dust.

Business owners in early 2020, if they haven’t already, will need to audit their mobile phone usage and make sure there is not an issue with the devices they are currently using. If you notice the phones your business is using are going to be decommissioned in 2020, replace them as early as possible to avoid a lapse in usage.

With respects to flip phones no longer working, the Larson Company’s IT Director Rob Sunderlage spoke with a network engineer at a major mobile carrier to get exact wording for what will be happening:

"We are going to start reallocating the spectrum that we currently use for 3G service to be reused as 4G spectrum.  Because of this it will not be a hard cut of the service where the phone will become unusable, but as the spectrum is converted, the flip phone will no longer get service in areas where the switch is made.  That said, those flip phones could work for a full year in some areas but stop working in other areas on Jan 1st, 2020.  This will affect all aspects, voice, text, and data."

In conclusion, users with older Verizon (UMTS, HSPA, EVDO) technology will need to upgrade at the beginning of 2020. Users with all other carriers will want to transfer to upgraded technology in early 2020, as this shutdown of 3G networks will take place over a long period of time, and there will be no official sunset date for your exact device.

Want more information on the 3G Network Sunset? Check out these articles: