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How 3G networks shutting down impacts vehicles
© Wojtek Kaczkowski |

The 3G shutdown means your car might lose these features this week

You may be attached to your old phone, but you miss out on many convenience and security features. Newer phones are faster and more capable and have the full support of their developers.

At some point, your old phone won’t receive updates. That will leave you vulnerable to hacks, malware and more. On top of that, you may not even be able to connect to the internet. Tap or click here for more information regarding the need to upgrade your old devices.

Cellular networks are evolving, and the older standards are being left behind. That’s why 3G networks are being shut down. AT&T is shutting its 3G network down this week. While this will impact older phones, many cars will also experience issues. Read on to find out how to handle it and hear Kim’s take in her DTU podcast.

Here’s the backstory

The three biggest mobile providers, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, have announced they’re phasing out 3G networks in 2022.

  • AT&T said it will shut down 3G networks in February.
  • Verizon said it will pull the plug on 3G on December 31.
  • T-Mobile said it will shut down Sprint 3G networks on March 31. T-Mobile’s own 3G networks will be gone by July 1.

Mobile carriers shut down older services to free up space for newer ones. For example, some carriers made room for 4G networks by dropping 2G service. Removing 3G networks will improve the performance of 4G networks and the emerging 5G.

The FCC lists some connected products that will be impacted by the changes: medical devices, tablets, smartwatches and home security systems, among others.

Automotive obsolescence

Modern cars have many features that need a network connection to function. Here are some examples:

  • Remote lock/unlock services
  • Voice assistants
  • Emergency call services
  • GPS live traffic and hazard updates
  • Smartphone connectivity
  • Concierge services

Two things can happen: cars will be updated to use more modern standards such as 5G, or the features won’t work anymore. For those that can be updated, you may be facing a subscription fee or an update charge from a dealer who performs the service.

The Drive compiled a list of every car that’s going to be impacted by 3G shutdowns:

  • Acura: MDX (2014-2017), ILX (2016-2017), RDX (2016-2017), RDX (2019-2021), RLX (2014-2016), TLX (2015-2017) and NSX (2017).
  • 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) and Q7 (2012-2018).
  • Certain Bentley models produced before 2020.
  • Certain BMW models produced before 2019.
  • General Motors said that certain models produced between 2015 and 2021 will be affected, including ones from sub-brands Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC.
  • Honda: Accord (Touring trim, 2018-2020), Odyssey (Touring and Elite trims, 2018-2020), Insight (Touring trim, 2019-2020), Passport (Touring and Elite trims, 2019-2021) and Pilot (Touring, Elite and Black Edition trims, 2019-2022).
  • Lexus: All models produced from 2010 to 2017 and GX (2018).
  • Mitsubishi: Eclipse Cross (All, telematics-equipped) and Outlander (All, telematics-equipped).
  • Porsche: 911 (2017-2019), 918 Spyder (2014), 718 (2017-2021), Cayenne (2015-2019), Macan (2017-2018) and Panamera (2014-2018).
  • Stellantis said that some models will be affected, which may include vehicles produced under the sub-brands Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Maserati and Ram.
  • Subaru: Crosstrek (2016-2019), Forester (2016-2018), Legacy (2016-2018), Impreza (2016-2018), WRX (2017-2018), WRX STI (2017-2018) and Outback (2016-2018).
  • Tesla: Model S vehicles produced before June 2015.
  • 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) and Sienna (2011-2017).
  • Volkswagen: Atlas (2018-2019), Arteon (2018-2019), Beetle (2014-2019), CC (2014-2018), Eos (2014-2017), Golf/Golf R/eGolf/Golf Sportwagen/Golf GTI (2014-2019), Jetta (2014-2019), Passat (2014-2019) and Tiguan (2014-2019).
  • Volvo: S60 (2015.5-2018), V60 (2015.5-2018), V60 Cross Country (2015.5-2018), XC60 (2015.5-2017), XC70 (2015.5-2016) and XC90 (2016).

What you can do

Your experience will vary depending on which cars you currently own. Each manufacturer will have its way of approaching the 3G shutdown, and the best thing to do is contact them directly to see how it will affect you.

For new-car shoppers, be sure to get precise information on technology built into the car you might buy from the dealership. This way, you’ll know what you might be facing down the road.

Want to hear Kim’s take on how to handle the end of 3G? Listen to the following Daily Tech Update podcast to get her thoughts in just one minute.

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