AT&T Sticks Their Foot In It. Tells Customers They Are Required To Upgrade Their Phones.

Cover Image Courtesy Bill Bradford

Yesterday we started seeing reports from news outlets (Android Police, Ars Technica, and The Verge) about an email sent to a large number of AT&T customers.

What you should know

The email, which some customers took to be a scam, informed customers that they would need to acquire a new phone because their current devices would stop working. No deadline was given leaving plenty of folks with the impression that they needed to run out and buy a new phone immediately. This obviously did not go over well with customers. Some of the people who got the notice purchased new phones as recently as 2019.

The email was vague enough that some people reached out to AT&T support and forums for clarification.

The answers were both reassuring and annoying. The emails are definitely not a scam. They came from AT&T. However, they remain somewhat problematic because of the lack of some key facts.

  • AT&T is shutting down it’s 3G services which means that older phones will no longer function on the AT&T network.
  • AT&T is shutting down 3G sometime in 2022. Meaning that everyone has more than a year to use their existing phone.
  • The email appears to have been sent to some customers whose phones will still work, even after the 2022 shutdown.

All of this combined with the spammy nature of the email itself has left a bad taste in a lot of mouths.

The good news

The good news about all of this is that if you are an AT&T customer who received this email, there is absolutely nothing you need to do for at least 18 months. And there’s a good chance that you’ll be in the market for a new phone by then anyway.

AT&T has already issued some clarifying language to Android Police and you should expect to see more soon.

“This email was one of many planned to keep customers informed about the shutdown of our 3G network in early 2022. It should have included the date that certain devices would no longer be supported. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused and will be more clear in future updates.”

Statement from AT&T

Additional Resources

AT&T has a list of devices that will work on their network after this change takes place (in 2022). You can also find a detailed explanation of all of this at Android Police. AT&T suggests you contact their customer care team if you have additional questions.

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