AT&T shutting down 2G - will all the country's flip phones stop working?

My mom and I both carry a motorola v365 flip phone.

phonescoop (under modes) says GSM 2g… AT&T sent us a notice in our last bill that 2g is shutting down. Are we and everybody else in this country losing access to these phones that were just purchased in 2007?

We’ve had trouble with our flip phones in the hospital. No signal, but my cousin sitting right next to us with an iphone had a good signal. They work fine most places.

My mom is really freaking out. She carries her phone in case her car breaks down, she gets ill etc. I find it hard to believe millions of eight year old flip phones will stop working.

from phone scoop

less detail
GSM (2G)
850 MHz / band 5 Cellular (Americas, Oceania, Brazil, Israel)
1800 MHz / band 3 DCS (Europe, Asia, Africa)
1900 MHz / band 2 PCS (Americas)

Nine years is an eternity in cell phones. There’s no reasonable expectation that 10 year old cell phones will continue to work.

I guess its time to get my mom set up on Jitterbug. :frowning: They have 3g flip phones.

Theres no way in the world I’d try to teach a 84 year old woman how to use a smart phone. Especially since she only uses her cell phone two or three times a week. Its hard to learn anything complicated thats used so infrequently.

I’m looking into Project Fi by Google and a Nexus 5x phone for myself.

AT&T announced in 2012 they would phase out their 2G network. Here’s their FAQ about it.

Your mom shouldn’t freak out, but it’s time for her to find a new phone. AT&T still has flip phones. If the AT&T contracts are too expensive, she can move to a prepaid plan.

Consumer Cellular has plans and phones through AARP. They have flip phones (for familiarity) with big print and buttons that operate on modern networks.

I’m still confused by this. I thought 3g and 4g were data speeds? Why does that have any impact on a basic cell phone’s voice service?

I don’t quite understand the terminology. I know my Kindle uses 3g to download books. or it can use wi-fi.

That may be my moms best option. Ironically, Consumer Cellular uses AT&T’s network. I’m sure the flip phones Consumer Cellular currently sells won’t be effected by the 2g shutdown.

Cellular phones were originally analog. When the newer digital phones came out, they were called second generation phones, or 2G, and people started to call the original analog system 1G. 3G and 4G are third and fourth generation, respectively.

Each new generation tends to come with faster speeds, new frequency bands, and also tends to not be backwards compatible.

From the consumer’s point of view, 2G phones were able to use 1G service, 3G phones were able to use 2G service, etc. which gives the illusion that the standards are backwards compatible, but they aren’t. It’s just that the phone manufacturer want people to be able to use their new phones even in areas where the new technology hasn’t been implemented yet. It was the phones that were backwards compatible, not the standards.

Analog 1G networks were phased out several years ago. Now they are getting rid of 2G. Some day they’ll drop 3G and 4G as well, as newer generations take their place.

They currently tend to develop new phone generations about every 10 years or so. If the current trend holds up, you can expect 3G to go away in about 10 years and 4G will be gone in about 20, by which time 5G and 6G will be what everyone is using.

I am surprised your battery still holds a decent charge after 9 years.

Once you move to digital voice is just specialized data. ATT and TMobile are shutting down GSM because it is not as efficient at 3g and 4g. They want to use that bandwidth for their LTE (4g) networks. Both 3g and 4g have standards for how to send voice data.

the Motorola’s battery pack has been replaced a couple times. Those old phones were built tough.

Its confusing to say that GSM will be shut down, as many phones , and there SIM’s or inbuilt equivalent, are "GSM " or GSM compatible, but these phones and SIM’s are also 3G and 4G … which outside the USA , they all use the GSM sim … Some phone companies may have said that their are migrating from CDMA or other 2G, toward “GSM” when they mean toward 3g or 4g…
The shutdown will be of the 2G on 850MHz, So in fact some places a 2g phone may still work because the base station for the area can do 2g,3g,4g on a higher frequency…

Batteries used to be something you could replace.

My parents are almost that old and they’ve adapted quite nicely to smartphones, especially my mother. She likes to check email on hers, she can check how her portfolio is doing, and I made the mistake of showing her how to take a photo on the phone and email it. So every time there’s a snowstorm, I get photos of the backyard showing how much snow has fallen, or a photo of whatever wildlife they find in a Connecticut backyard.

In short, your mother might be different but lots of older people are quite comfortable with smartphones.

They still (mostly) are. If you’re not an apple buyer.

The phone I was using up until this past January was that old, and still worked. I only replaced it because my iPod Touch wore out, not because the phone wore out. The battery didn’t last as long as it used to, but it did last longer than my current smartphone’s battery.

iPhone batteries are replaceable, and there are any number of kiosks in malls all over the country that will do it while you wait.

Cool phone. Technically 3g (GSM + EDGE) :slight_smile: but not, of course, compatible with the 3g that anybody is using. I’ve got a phone I purchased new just last year (2015) that isn’t 3g, but since I only paid $20 for it, including the first month free, I’m not feeling bad about it.

Plus, if I want, I can switch to another network: my network is closing 2g CSM, but I’ve got options.

Mom signed with Consumer Cellular tonight. Her new and hopefully more modern flip phone will arrive in a week. She keeps her old number and they take care of the switch over. AARP discount is a nice bonus too.

20 bucks a month (750 minutes) and a one time charge of $50 for the phone. She decided not to get any data because she never texts. They charge $2.50 for 300 texts and 30MB. not bad but she’d never use it. All she cares about is having a phone, camera and calendar/scheduler.

I’m still planning on a smart phone. It’s time for me to get up to date in this tech obsessed world.

They’re not easily replaceable by the consumer, though. I can snap off the back of my LG phone and change the battery myself.