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AT&T is shutting down its 3G network, but you might get a free phone

June 15th, 2021 at 4:12 PM
AT&T shut down

As often as we cover new and unreleased phones at BGR, not everyone worries about staying up to date with the latest hardware. Even the oldest smartphones are still capable of making calls and sending texts, and for some people, that’s plenty. Unfortunately, time comes for us all, as well as our phones, and in February 2022, AT&T is phasing out its 3G network for good. For the vast majority of you, this change will have zero effect on your life and you can ignore this, but if you haven’t upgraded your phone in six or seven years, you might want to read on.

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As we discussed in May, talk and data services will stop working on phones, tablets, and smartwatches that don’t support 4G LTE and HD Voice. The mobile carrier also shared a comprehensive list of all the phones that will continue to work on its network after next February, including Apple’s iPhone 6 and newer, Samsung’s Galaxy S4 mini and newer, and Google’s Pixel 2 and newer.

If you’re an AT&T subscriber and you can’t find your phone on that list, we’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is that you won’t be able to make calls, send texts, or browse the internet in a few months. The good news is that you may be eligible to get a new phone from the mobile carrier free of charge. Go to in your browser of choice, input your phone number, and you will be on your way to getting a free cell phone that will work on AT&T’s 4G LTE network.

“We’re upgrading our wireless network to bring you better quality and faster speeds,” AT&T explains on the website where it is giving away free phones. “In February 2022, your current cell phone won’t work anymore. That’s why we’re offering you a free cell phone – so you can continue enjoying your service on our faster network. And the phone itself is free!”

As always, there’s a catch. The phone that you will be receiving is not a modern flagship with a bunch of bells and whistles, but rather the 2019 AT&T Radiant Core. This phone features a 480p display, 16GB of internal storage, 1GB of memory, a 2,500mAh battery, a 5-megapixel rear camera, and 2-megapixel selfie camera. It runs Android P (Go Edition) and currently retails for $35.

Admittedly, a free phone that actually works on AT&T’s network is far better than no phone at all, but there are plenty of options on the list of compatible phones above that cost far less than a new iPhone 12 or Galaxy S21. At least scan through the list to see if any of the phones stand out before you decide if you want to take advantage of AT&T’s less-than-thrilling free phone offer.

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Jacob started covering video games and technology in college as a hobby, but it quickly became clear to him that this was what he wanted to do for a living. He currently resides in New York writing for BGR. His previously published work can be found on TechHive, VentureBeat and Game Rant.

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