Tech moguls and enthusiasts have some big plans this year regarding 5G mobile network connections. You might’ve heard some recent news about airlines in a tizzy as more 5G towers are set to be built closer to airports. The aviation industry fears 5G signals could interfere with critical safety equipment on commercial jetliners. Experts also worry about significant flight delays, diversions and cancellations at some airports.
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The 3G shutdown will affect vehicle models from 2010-2021
Automakers are also having a hard time coming to terms with the 5G takeover, since the 3G shutdown means their vehicle connectivity will suffer. Real-time weather data, service notifications, crash reporting, and more can be affected. The world is headed to faster bandwidth affecting how people work, live, and drive from now on!
AT&T 3G is going offline in Feb, while Verizon is waiting until Dec 31st
In order to make room for more 5G and even 6G coming in the future, major carriers like T-Mobile and AT&T are set to shut down 3G soon! Like, next month soon. This has carmakers scrambling for solutions for sure. 3G still controls many functions in vehicles made in the last decade, like cellular service, remote start and remote unlocking systems, emergency roadside assistance services, and navigation systems to name a few.
You must be wondering by now if your car is going to be affected! Well, according to screenrant.com, your concern is warranted especially since before the whole chip shortage ordeal (shh, we don’t talk about that kind of negativity) we had no idea that the same chips found in cellphones powered major systems in our (newer) cars! Friends, sit down because you have much more to learn!
The average consumer will use about to 11 GB of data per month on their cellphone this year
What is 5G technology
In order to understand what’s going on, let’s get a clear idea on what 5G actually is. 5G is the 5th generation mobile network. A new kind of technology, in which its network is meant to connect us all–people, machines, devices, and more– at a faster more efficient speed. It’s said to be more reliable, more available and higher performing than it’s older, less cool brothers and sisters (1G-4G). 5G offers faster download speeds, low latency, and more capacity plus connectivity for countless devices, including virtual reality, the internet of things (Iot), and artificial intelligence.
Acura and Volvo are upgrading to 5G
Experts say switching over to newer technologies like 5G connections is actually a good thing. So why are popular automakers still sporting 3G connections in everyday vehicles? Carmakers have known about the impending 3G shutdown for a while and some have made announcements of changes, like Acura and Volvo who are offering programs to upgrade to 4G or 5G, free of charge. Others like Toyota and Lexus, have no plans to offer any upgrades. That’s particularly troubling because well, you paid good, hard earned money for your vehicle, only to now not have it run at optimal, peak performance.
Wireless industry trade group GSMA says 5G networks are expected to be 10 times faster than 4G LTE
The 3G shutdown can be a safety risk for certain car models
The current 3G connection most vehicles use control a plethora of things. Think for a moment, of all the things your car uses technology for. Emergency buttons, time and temperature, navigation systems, automatic crash notifications, built in cellular capabilities and more. If your automaker isn’t planning to upgrade the software or hardware for your car’s system, you’ll simply lose these abilities. Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Nissan and Hyundai are among others that’ll lose their connections permanently.
SEE ALSO: WHAT DOES 5G MEAN FOR AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES
But still, why the wait? Well, the almighty dollar is one good reason! 3G is cheaper! So of course they’re going to use it until the last sweet moment. Another reason is the logistics. According to consumerreports.org, it can be difficult and in some cases even impossible to upgrade to use the newer networks based on how the vehicle was designed. ConsumerReports says “What your car will and won’t be able to continue to do depends on the technology it uses, the automaker’s plans whether it will offer updates and whether you apply any available update on time.” For example, for Lexus and Infiniti, there are no plans so far for a connectivity upgrade, even though some of the cars that will permanently lose services are as new as the 2019 model year.
Carmaker Mitsubishi never used 3G: according to a spokesperson, the Japanese manufacturer saw this coming, and designed their vehicle around it
When will you and your vehicle experience these changes?
Every automaker has a different timeline based on what mobile carrier they use. AT&T’s 3G shutdown is happening right about now! In February, models from Honda, Nissan and Volvo will feel the effects of the 3G shutdown.
If you drive a Honda, you may have an option to upgrade your technology before February 22nd free of charge. After that, you’ll foot a $900 bill to get it done. Check your mail for information on this program. Verizon plans to take the whole year before shutting down the 3G service. So if you drive a Toyota or a Lexus, you’ve got some time to figure it out.
General Motors–brand vehicles using OnStar on a 3G network will require a software update by February 2022
The bottom line is 5G is coming. Most of your devices like your cell phones and ipads are already 4G compatible, but you’ll have to do some research in regard to your car. You could call a local dealership, search online or go straight to the manufacturer website to find out what you can do to get your car 5G ready. Be prepared to hear in some cases, that there’s nothing you can do. Our cars and our lives have become dependent upon technology, hopefully automakers will be able to keep up with the trends.
For the full ConsumerReports analysis along a detailed list of car brands, models, and trims affected, visit 3G Network Shutdown article.