3G networks are shutting down — and that's bad news for your car. Here's why (2022)

The 3G wireless network was once among the world's hottest innovations. Today, it feels old-fashioned with fifth-generation (5G), and even sixth-generation (6G), networks soon dominating the tech world.

In fact, 3G will soon be extinct — and that could mean bad news for your car.

Every major mobile carrier plans to shut down its 3G network this year, largely to free up mobile bandwidth for upcoming 5G network rollouts. First up is AT&T, which will shut down its 3G network on Feb. 22. If your smartphones and tablets were purchased within the past decade, they should have 4G capability, meaning they'll likely be unaffected.

However, your car might be a different story.

As multiple auto blogs have pointed out recently, the 3G shutdown will affect dozens of vehicle models released anytime between 2010 and 2021. Some cars will lose the ability to update your location and traffic data while navigating. Others will become unable to connect with your smartphone, voice assistants or emergency call services.

If you're driving certain models from Honda, Nissan or Volvo, you could be affected by AT&T's 3G shutdown. Verizon-aligned brands like Toyota and Lexus might have more time: Verizon says its 3G shutdown will happen "no later" than December 31. T-Mobile plans to shut down its Sprint and T-Mobile 3G networks between March and July.

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Some major auto companies have released information on which of their car models will be affected by the shutdown — and what steps owners can take, if any, to ensure that their cars don't lose certain connected features once the shutdown occurs.

Other carmakers, like Bentley and Stellantis, have acknowledged that some of their cars will be affected, but have declined to specify which models.

Here's a current list of publicly known affected models:

Acura:

  • MDX models produced between 2014 and 2017
  • ILX (2016-2017)
  • RDX (2016-2017)
  • RDX (2019-2021)
  • RLX (2014-2016)
  • TLX (2015-2017)
  • NSX (2017)

Acura's website identifies seven different vehicle models with AcuraLink features running on 3G, including real-time traffic and maintenance reminders, emergency calls and enhanced roadside assistance services, as well as some personal concierge services. The Japanese luxury brand, which is owned by Honda, says drivers should contact a dealer to update their car's hardware if they want to continue using those services after the 3G networks shut down.

Audi:

  • A3 e-Tron (2016-2018)
  • A4/Allroad (2013-2018)
  • A5 (2013-2018)
  • A6 (2012-2015)
  • A7 (2012-2015)
  • A8 (2012-2018)
  • RS 5 (2019)
  • Q3 (2015-2018)
  • Q5 (2013-2018)
  • Q7 (2012-2018)

For each of the 10 Audi models that will be affected by the 3G shutdown, Audi's website offers an overview of the connected features that will be lost, from online roadside assistance and stolen vehicle locator features to real-time fuel price and traffic light information.

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(Video) 3G Network Shutdown Questions? We Have Answers!

The German luxury automaker advises owners to visit a dealer to have their 3G hardware deactivated. Otherwise, the shutdown will cause the vehicles to "display a warning message…and emit an audible chime to warn the driver the vehicle is not connected and emergency services are not available."

In December, Audi and auto software company Mojio also announced a hardware update that should allow owners of the affected models to connect to 4G networks.

BMW:

In April 2021, BMW published an FAQ page noting that all "vehicles factory equipped with 3G telematics devices or retrofitted 2G vehicles" will be completely disconnected from its ConnectedDrive and BMW Assist services. The page declined to identify which models are included, but according to The Drive, you're safe if your car is from 2019 or later.

BMW said it would contact affected vehicle owners to inform them if their car is eligible for a free upgrade. Not all cars will be eligible, according to the FAQ page.

General Motors:

Even relatively new General Motors cars might be affected: Last year, CM and its OnStar connected features platform announced that the 3G shutdown will affect "certain 2015 model year and newer GM vehicles."

In October, GM began offering wireless software updates to prepare its fleet for the shutdown, which OnStar says will occur in February. According to OnStar, the update occurs automatically for some car models, while others will receive a prompt on the dashboard to accept installation of the software update.

The updates will continue "until all affected vehicles have been successfully updated," OnStar's website says.

Honda:

  • Accord Touring (2018-2020)
  • Odyssey's Touring and Elite versions (2018-2020)
  • Insight Touring (2019-2020)
  • Passport's Touring and Elite versions (2019-2021)
  • Pilot's Touring, Elite, and Black Edition versions (2019-2022)

Honda's website identifies February 22, 2022 as the date that the 3G shutdown will affect a handful of its models. The company is offering a wireless software update that should reenable car features like remote locking, enhanced roadside assistance and Wi-Fi hotspots.

Lexus:

According to Lexus, all models produced by the Toyota-owned luxury brand between 2010 and 2017 will be affected by the 3G shutdown, along with GX models from 2018. The shutdown for those cars' connected services will come on October 31, 2022, at which point features like automatic collision notification and enhanced roadside assistance will stop working permanently.

(Video) What Cars Are Affected by 3G

So far, Toyota and Lexus haven't announced any plans to offer software or hardware upgrades.

Nissan:

  • Altima (2016-2017)
  • GT-R (2017-2018)
  • Maxima (2016-2017)
  • 2017 Murano
  • 2017 Pathfinder
  • Rogue (2016-2017)
  • Rogue Sport (2017-2018)
  • Sentra (2016-2018)
  • TITAN (2016-2017) and 2017 TITAN XD
  • Certain 2011-2015 LEAF electric vehicles with upgraded 3G telematics units

In December, Nissan told Jalopnik that its affected vehicles will lose 3G connectivity with AT&T's shutdown in February, and that the company has contacted vehicle owners to inform them of the issue. If you own one of the above models and you haven't heard from Nissan yet, the company recommends calling 1-855-426-6628 to verify if your car is affected.

Nissan has not yet announced any plans to offer software or hardware upgrades to affected owners.

Porsche:

  • 911 (2017-2019)
  • 918 Spyder (2014)
  • 718 (2017-2021)
  • Cayenne (2015-2019)
  • Macan (2017-2018)
  • Panamera (2014-2018)

The Porsche vehicles listed above will lose 3G connectivity on February 22, cutting off various remote, safety and security features, according to the company's website. Porsche adds that some, but not all, vehicles will be eligible for a technology upgrade to keep those connected features working.

The company's website says it will notify car owners by email if their vehicles are eligible for an update.

Subaru:

  • Crosstrek (2016-2019)
  • Forester (2016-2018)
  • Legacy (2016-2018)
  • Impreza (2016-2018)
  • WRX (2017-2018)
  • WRX STI (2017-2018)
  • Outback (2016-2018)

On its website, Japanese automaker Subaru says its seven affected models will lose 3G connectivity in February, affecting features like "SOS emergency assistance" and the ability to remotely lock and unlock your car. However, a complimentary software update is available for subscribers to Subaru's Starlink Safety Plus or Security Plus connected services.

Tesla:

In July, Tesla announced that its Model S luxury sedans built before June 2015 will lose network connectivity in February 2022, unless owners pay $200 at a Tesla dealer to install an upgraded, LTE-capable modem.

Without the upgrade, the affected Model S sedans will lose a variety of connected features, including wireless software updates, live traffic data, music streaming, and Tesla's Summon feature — which allows owners to remotely call their car in a parking lot to come pick them up nearby without a driver.

Toyota:

  • 4Runner (2010-2019)
  • Avalon (2013-2018)
  • Camry (2013-2017)
  • Highlander (2014-2018)
  • Land Cruiser (2011-2017)
  • Mirai (2016-2017)
  • Prius (2010-2016)
  • Prius Plug-in (2012-2015)
  • Prius V (2012-2016)
  • RAV4 EV (2012-2014)
  • Sienna (2011-2017)

Toyota's website says 3G connectivity for its affected models will end on November 1. Toyota tells CNBC Make It that there are currently no software or hardware upgrades available for customers that would extend their 3G functionality beyond October 31.

Volkswagen:

  • Atlas (2018-2019)
  • Arteon (2018-2019)
  • Beetle (2014-2019)
  • CC (2014-2018)
  • Eos (2014-2017)
  • Multiple Golf editions (2014-2019)
  • Jetta (2014-2019)
  • Passat (2014-2019)
  • Tiguan (2014-2019)

Volkswagen's connected features are available to drivers on a subscription basis, so if you aren't a paid subscriber, you won't lose anything. However, if you drive one of the above models and you have an active Car-Net subscription, you'll lose features in February like emergency and roadside call assistance, vehicle health reports and the ability to check fuel status remotely.

VW's website says "additional information will be available in the coming months" for customers who want to continue using the Car-Net platform after the shutdown, and that drivers should "please check back closer" to the February shutdown date.

Volvo:

  • S60 (2015.5-2018
  • V60 (2015.5-2018)
  • V60 Cross Country (2015.5-2018)
  • XC60 (2015.5-2017)
  • XC70 (2015.5-2016)
  • XC90 (2016)

Volvo's mobile partner is AT&T, which means the affected vehicles will lose 3G connectivity in February. The shutdown will cut off features such as real-time traffic updates and in-car access to the Volvo On Call app that offers emergency assistance and remote tracking.

The Swedish company's website says it'll offer an upgrade to at least some owners of the affected vehicles, who are directed to fill out an online form for more information.

(Video) All of your 3G devices will lose cellular service in 2022. Here's what you need to know.

CLARIFICATION: This article has been updated to reflect the fact that no hardware or software upgrades are available to owners of the affected Toyota or Lexus vehicles.

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(Video) 3G Network Shutdown - What Do You Need To Do

FAQs

What vehicles will be affected by 3G shutdown? ›

Vehicles affected: Audi vehicles that connect to a 3G network lost connectivity in February 2022. These include the 2016 to 2018 A3 E-Tron; 2013 to 2018 A4, A5, and Q5; 2014 to 2018 Allroad; 2012 to 2015 A6 and A7; 2012 to 2018 A8; 2015 to 2018 Q3; 2012 to 2018 Q7; and 2019 RS5, according to Audi's website.

What will happen when 3G shuts down? ›

What is happening? Mobile carriers are shutting down their 3G networks, which rely on older technology, to make room for more advanced network services, including 5G. As a result, many older cell phones will be unable to make or receive calls and texts, including calls to 911, or use data services.

Is Ford affected by 3G shutdown? ›

Ford and Mazda use a driver's cell phone to call emergency services in the event of a crash, so their vehicles aren't affected by the 3G shutdown unless drivers are using an older 3G cell phone.

Does Toyota use 3G? ›

Recent advancements in wireless technology have prompted the mobile industry to shut down 3G wireless networks by the end of 2022. Unfortunately, this means that motor vehicle hardware that currently relies on 3G wireless networks will no longer function as of November 1, 2022.

Will my OnStar work after 3G shutdown? ›

OnStar addressed the U.S. 3G network sunset by working with AT&T to make necessary network updates. All impacted vehicles received a network update to protect them from the U.S. 3G sunset, and OnStar will continue to deploy over-the-air software updates throughout 2022 to ensure an optimal experience for Members.

How can I tell if my phone is 3G? ›

On Android smartphones, go to settings > Network settings > mobile network. It should give you a dropdown menu of mobile standards such as 2G, 3G or LTE (4G). If you don't see 4G or LTE, then your smartphone doesn't support the standard.

Which carriers still support 3G? ›

Verizon is the only wireless provider whose service is still up and running. After AT&T and T-Mobile completed shutdowns of their 3G wireless networks in the first six months of this year, Verizon remained as the only provider of the nearly obsolete service. Verizon will discontinue its 3G network at the end of 2022.

What phones will stop working in 2022? ›

5G Network: Comprehensive List Of Phones To Stop Working From...
  • AT&T - February 2022.
  • Verizon - December 31, 2022.
  • T-Mobile will shut down Sprint's 3G CDMA network by March 31, 2022.
  • Sprint's 4G LTE - June 30, 2022.
  • T-Mobile's 3G UMTS network - July 1, 2022.
25 Jul 2022

Is OnStar going away? ›

In September 2021, GM notified owners of certain pre-2015 model-year vehicles in the United States that their factory-installed OnStar equipment will become obsolete and non-functional after December 2022.

Will SiriusXM be affected by 3G shutdown? ›

No, SiriusXM® Satellite Radio services will not be affected.

What is GM replacing OnStar with? ›

On April 30, Maps+, which is powered by Mapbox, will be available to about 900,000 vehicles as part of select Connected Services plans. It's an upgrade from GM's OnStar turn-by-turn navigation tool, though that tool will still be available to drivers.

How can I upgrade my 3G to 5G? ›

Swipe up
  1. Swipe up.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Select Connections.
  4. Select Mobile networks.
  5. Select Network mode.
  6. Select your preferred option.

Does OnStar use 3G or 4G? ›

OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot is a feature that enables a vehicle's occupants to connect to a Wi-Fi network provided by the vehicle and get online. The service is made up of two distinct technologies working together — a 4G LTE internet connection and a Wi-Fi router.

Is Bluetooth affected by 3G? ›

To put it simply: no, using Bluetooth won't affect your cellular data in any way. Bluetooth works using short-range radio waves, not an internet connection. This means that Bluetooth will work anywhere you have two compatible devices — you don't need any sort of data plan, or even a cellular connection.

Can you use OnStar without cell service? ›

Being in a car accident is a nightmare -- you're often disoriented, upset and unsure of what to do once the actual crash is over. But if your car is equipped with GM's OnStar service, you don't even have to find your cell phone.

What cellular network does OnStar use? ›

34 * OnStar Data Plans offered by AT&T for OnStar Members: Session-based data plans provide you with access to AT&T wireless data services for your equipped-vehicle's hotspot.

Will my OnStar work with 5G? ›

As cellular carriers transition to 4G or 5G connectivity, vehicles using a 2G connection will lose OnStar service.

How long will 3G phones work? ›

Verizon. Verizon is in the process of shutting down its older 3G networks, but the process won't be complete until December 31, 2022.

How can I update my 3G Android to 4G? ›

Convert 3G phone to 4G | NO_ROOT | 2017 - YouTube

How do I know if my phone is 3G or 5G? ›

Another easier way to tell if your smartphone supports 5G or not is to check in the phone settings. Assuming it's an Android phone, tap on Settings >> Network & internet >> Mobile Network >> Preferred Network type. You should see all the Mobile Network technologies supported such as 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G.

How much longer will flip phones work? ›

Verizon plans to shut down its old 3G CDMA network by the end of 2022, which means 3G devices won't be able to make or receive calls. Customers who are still using Verizon's 3G devices will receive basic flip phones similar to their old devices, but that can work on the company's newer 4G mobile network.

How do I know if I have a 3G iPhone? ›

How do I know if my iPhone is 3G or 4G?
  1. Dial *#06# on your phone to display your IMEI number. ...
  2. If you see a 3G at the top left it means that you are in an area that does not have 4G support. ...
  3. Open the browser of your cell phone and attempt to access a website.
21 Feb 2022

What can you do with an old 3G phone? ›

Fortunately, there's an easy answer to this environmental problem: Clear out your drawers of old phones and recycle them. You can trade in your device for credit towards a new phone with your mobile carrier, sell it online, donate it to a charitable organization or recycle it with your other e-waste.

What T mobile phones will no longer work? ›

According to the documents sent to us (which we have verified as accurate), the following devices will be unable to use T-Mobile's network as of January 29th, following the deployment of a network update: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (AT&T model) Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (Verizon model) Samsung Galaxy Note Edge.

How long will I be able to use my 4G phone? ›

Eventually, in an estimated 15 to 20 years when there are few 4G LTE devices in use, most if not all of the spectrum will be used for 5G. Dynamic spectrum sharing lets carriers use the same spectrum band for both 4G and 5G.

Are Android phones going away? ›

While Android, the operating system with a Linux kernel, is dead, Android, the brand, is not going anywhere.

Which cars are affected by 5g? ›

Vehicles affected: 2018 and 2019 Atlas and Arteon; 2014 to 2019 Beetle, Jetta, Golf, Golf Sportwagen, Golf R, eGolf, GTI, Passat, and Tiguan; 2014 to 2018 CC; and 2014 to 2017 Eos. The fix: The Car-Net service in these vehicles stopped working when AT&T's network went dark in February 2022.

Will SiriusXM be affected by 3G shutdown? ›

No, SiriusXM® Satellite Radio services will not be affected.

Does OnStar use 3G or 4G? ›

OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot is a feature that enables a vehicle's occupants to connect to a Wi-Fi network provided by the vehicle and get online. The service is made up of two distinct technologies working together — a 4G LTE internet connection and a Wi-Fi router.

What is going to replace OnStar? ›

On April 30, Maps+, which is powered by Mapbox, will be available to about 900,000 vehicles as part of select Connected Services plans. It's an upgrade from GM's OnStar turn-by-turn navigation tool, though that tool will still be available to drivers.

Will OnStar be discontinued? ›

OnStar Hands-Free Calling was discontinued starting February 2022. In its place, Members can use Bluetooth® pairing to make phone calls while keeping their hands on the wheel.

Why do cars need 5G? ›

Since real-time autonomous decisions need to be taken within a fraction of seconds, low latency feature of 5G enables cars to receive information at turbo speed and take prompt actions that can avoid them from hitting obstacles on the way.

How do I change from 3G to 5G? ›

Switch between 3G/4G/5G - Samsung Android
  1. Swipe up.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Select Connections.
  4. Select Mobile networks.
  5. Select Network mode.
  6. Select your preferred option.

Does 3G affect Bluetooth? ›

So, in a nutshell, my answer to your question is: 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G networks shouldn't interfere with your headsets, however other bluetooth devices and some Wi-Fi might.

What cellular network does OnStar use? ›

34 * OnStar Data Plans offered by AT&T for OnStar Members: Session-based data plans provide you with access to AT&T wireless data services for your equipped-vehicle's hotspot.

Will my 4G phone work in 2022? ›

4G devices will continue to work. Mobile providers are expected to maintain their 4G networks as they invest in 5G deployment. If your mobile device is more than a few years old, it may be a 3G device. Check with your mobile provider to see if it plans to phase out its 3G services.

Is OnStar data really unlimited? ›

The built-in Wi-Fi Hotspot is easy to use because it's automatically on after initial setup and ready to connect to your mobile devices. What OnStar® and Connected Services plans offer Unlimited Data? The Connected Vehicle Plan*108 and the Premium Plan*110 both offer unlimited data.

How much does it cost to put Wi-Fi in your car? ›

Expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $50 per month to get Wi-Fi in your car through a built-in hotspot.

Why do I need OnStar? ›

OnStar Services

Anywhere you need help with emergencies, injuries, directions, and more — Advisors are here to help day or night, in or out of any vehicle. Stay in touch, even with spotty service. An available in-vehicle Wi-Fi® Hotspot can keep you connected, even when your cell phone cannot.

Will my navigation system work without OnStar? ›

You do not require OnStar with the in-dash Navigation, although with OnStar's recent announcement regarding downloadable directions, you might think twice. This new feature allows you to change or add to your route without putting the vehicle in park to program the nav.

Do you have to pay for OnStar? ›

After trial expires, OnStar will automatically bill your payment method monthly. Plans containing 4G LTE data will be billed every 30 days by AT&T. You may cancel at any time by pushing your blue OnStar button or by calling 1.888.

How much does OnStar turn by turn navigation cost? ›

Pricing: $20 per vehicle monthly plan charge (3 vehicles on plan results in $60 monthly plan charge). Devices: Sold separately. Limits: 3 vehicles per plan. Hotspot: Connects a limited number of Wi-Fi-capable devices per vehicle hotspot.

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