Every once in a while I miss the good old days when cell phones weren't full-blown mini computers in your pocket. It was a simpler time. You could make a call, maybe play a basic game, take a grainy picture, and send a text message by pressing a number button enough times to select your letter. Oh, you want to start your sentence with an R? All you have to do is push the 7 key three times! These days the old phones have become a thing of the past for most. But there are some that still use the older technology for one reason or another. And that could end up being quite a pain for a lot of people around Montana as phone companies phase out 3G service - including AT&T beginning next week.

Photo: Curology via Unsplash
Photo: Curology via Unsplash
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Like it or not, it's time to update those old phones

If you've lost track, we're now in the 5G world when it comes to phone service. And as products advance with the newest technology, it's out with the old and in with the new. If you have an older iPad like I do you know exactly what I'm talking about! Sure, it might be a little heavier and not as fancy as the new ones, but it still works just fine. The problem is you can't download apps because the newest versions aren't compatible with the older iPads. It's sort of the same deal when it comes to phones. Even if users are happy as can be with their phone that works fine on 3G, when they shut down the service it'll basically be a phone that does you no good if you can't make calls.

What can you do to avoid losing service?

The 3G shutdown is coming and a KPAX story says AT&T will be the first of the three big carriers to get the ball rolling on February 22nd. Verizon and T-Mobile plan to end the service later in the year. Phones are so expensive these days and that's definitely a reason that some have continued to use older phones. The good news is that AT&T says it's trying to help by providing free replacement phones for customers that are using old flip phones and look to be affected. I called one of the AT&T stores in Missoula to ask about the replacement phones and an employee confirmed that they were being made available. But I was also told that customers have to contact AT&T directly and that replacements aren't available in-store.

Photo: Alexander Andrews via Unsplash
Photo: Alexander Andrews via Unsplash
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And it's not just phones!

I never really thought about it but old phones aren't the only things that will be affected when 3G goes the way of the dinosaur. There are home security alarms and even medical alert devices that still operate on 3G service. That's pretty scary when you really take a second to think about it. If you have older relatives that haven't upgraded their devices in quite a while, it might be a good time to assist them so they won't have their services cut.

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