Some Cell Phones Will Not Work in 2022

By Eileen Doherty, MS ~

The major companies that offer cell phone service are phasing out cellphones that use a 3G network, including those that are used solely for the purpose of calling 911.

A lot of older cellphones, including the IPhone 5, IPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S4, as well as many of the flip phones, will become obsolete in 2022 as mobile providers make the switch to 5G networks.

Some tracfones, flip phones, Jitterbugs and even older-style smartphones will no longer be able to make calls once the networks are taken down. Most of these phones, which are sometimes called “third generation” phones were launched nearly 20 years ago and will no longer work with most of the carriers in 2022.

The Federal Communications Commission says that oftentimes mobile carriers upgrade their networks to make them faster and to use the latest technology.

The FCC has released the following schedule for shutdowns of the 3G network:  AT&T, February 2022; Verizon, December 31, 2022. T-Mobile, March 31, 2022 and Sprint’s 4G network by June 30, 2022.  T-Mobile’s 3G UMTS network will shut down by July 1, 2022. The shutdown date for the T-Mobile 2G network has not been announced.

The FCC recommends that you first contact your mobile provider for more information about their phone and network retirement plan, as well as to discuss your options for a new phone.  Some carriers may be offering discounts for those individuals needing different devices.

Given the cost of internet services, as well as the purchase of a new device, older adults who are still using these devices should take action immediately to avoid any disruption in services and to allow time to plan for the possible increase in costs and purchase of new phones.

For more information, call 303-333-3482 or 1-855-294-3971 (toll free) or 1-855-880-4777 (Spanish).

Eileen Doherty

Eileen Doherty

Eileen Doherty, MS is the Executive Director of the Colorado Gerontological Society.  Her areas of expertise include management and administration of nonprofit organizations, education and training on issues related to older adults, advocacy and policy development on senior issues, and clinical practice in working with seniors and families to manage their lives in the later years. She has been the Director of the Society since 1982.  She teaches Nonprofit Management for Fort Hays State University.


  1. hi……….i have aTRACFONE LG REBEL 4 lte……….can you tell me When it will END/STOP working………thank you……..G

  2. I have a Alcatel TCL A1 (A501DL) that is 4GLTE but the Carrier isn’t Sprint will I have to upgrade before or on June 30 2022

  3. My “Obama” safelink cell phone provider sent out ONE Email on January 24 stating the coming shut down of their phones by February 22 ,2022 . They sent me to a safelink information and newer phones for free replacement of my ZTE I purchased from them about a year and a half ago . All the free phone were out if stock . On January 29th my phone stopped making calls with a voice message directing me to hold for assistance . I went through three people who couldn’t help me and swore there was no way to reactivate my phone and needed to order a free one or pay about 50 to 90 plus dollars for a new one . After talking to two diiferent people and their trying several things my call was transferred to 2 differnt technical surpvisors and the last one after a long wait got my phone to reset and start working for the time being or 2/22/22 . They didnt seem to give much notice of this change over which could leave many low income users rushing to get a newer phone .

    • Tracfone got your 3g phone working again? Please can you email me at and give me details. I love my old free phone. Safelink will not give out free phones anymore since Verizon bought them out. I can’t get my saved minutes transferred and I can’t get free minutes anymore. They never call back either.

      • I just got a free smart phone from Safelink today that will work I was told on 5glte. What are you talking about?

        • SafeLink does not give away free 5G phones. No government phone will ever be a 5G phone unless they completely swap over. And in that case good luck the government will probably do away with any kind of free anything. You can’t even run a home business of any kind with any government phone because they are not compatible and they are not Dependable for this purpose. Like the government promised. If you have to beg borrow and plead don’t get a government phone because they are no good. They want to give you the least they possibly can. Which in turn means you never get ahead. So quit daydreaming that you’ll have your own business cuz it won’t happen not with the government phone or government service of any kind.

      • Safe link still gives out free phones. Just got one on upgrade phone safely website!

    • ZTE phone cannot dial out & cannot receive calls or text for about 2 months been trying to get an answer from SafeLink why.The only answer received was SafeLink having network problems.Safelink had me take out some card to read the numbers to them which is the sim card that came with the phone from SafeLink Phone still not working after many calls to safe link.Receiver the phone I believe in 2021 they say I do not qualify for new phone WHY THIS Phone WAS WORKING NOW WAYS NO INTERNET OR SIM CARD.SIM CARD IS IN THE PHONE.tested the phone at my sister’s house who has Verizon.No problem with her internet.Still states no longer.I cannot use the phone Safe link not helpful they are horrible.This phone was free I am on disability with limited income.I Just WANT A ANSWER.

  4. When will lose service on my flip Tracfone?

  5. Will my 306G Tracfone stop working this year?

  6. Please consider a follow up on this article. I am in Texas and received an urgent message from Safelink that I have to change out my SIM to one that is VoLTE capable or my phone will stop working on Feb. 22, 2022. They give a link to order a Verizon SIM, but it has not worked now for 3 days and I can find no where else to get this SIM. Have spent hours on the phone with Safelink’s customer service and they say they cannot order one either as they are having a system problem.
    My old phone does not have VoLTE cabability so I also need a new phone. They have none available. I am fortunate to be able to afford a phone, but without the correct SIM I will have no access to actually using it.
    We were promised that the Version transition of the Tracfone purchase would be done smoothly and make sure that people like me that are elderly and disabled would not lose their cell phone service. Seems that isn’t happening. Very sad.

    • Not only is it sad. My uncle, 92, very independent but not Smartphone savvy enough to be able to use one. Smartphone was sent to him to replace it he flipper he had. He asked again for a flipper. They send another smart phone. No one from the company will even talk to him. All they tell him is,: he already discussed the issue with them. I guess that is the ” new way” of the “new generation” to talk to people.

      • I hope the site will allow me to post this link.

        My 80 year old Dad wants ONLY a “dumbphone” as he calls it; he is with US Cellular and was provided a FREE 4G flip-phone.
        This article states that “all carriers offer 4G VOICE-phones”

      • i am 68 yr old female, live all alone, all my family is deceased & my 2 grown sons never call to see how I am doing, or if i need anything. WHATEVER YOU DO, AVOID TMOBILE AT ALL COSTS! they are the rudest most hateful support people I ever met! Never would i treat my customers with such blatant disrespect! Even Tech support does not care if you cant use your new phone! Never allow them to automatically withdraw your monthly payment from your bank! They will grab anything they desire! Not kidding. I bank with a credit union who returned every dime while I waited that day, and they issued a new debit card in 10 minutes! Beware of TMobile & their slimey practices, please! Thank you.

        • Libby I sbsolutely agree with you Its not only about Tmobile, its about
          Trackpone and Safelink. Im an 83 year old veteran living alone, they are being paid by the government to give us a phone service, but fail to do their Job and dont care, their customer service is terrible, hard to speak to a human being, only robots, Safelink has an office close to the everglades hidden under a tracphone sign, making it difficult to find, a huge, empty building with nobody in it, so when you get there you cant even talk to someone. Qlink same way, an office with its doors locked to you and wont even let you park your car outside. They dont care about us because we are old even if you are a veteran, its all about the money. The best thing we can do is boycot them all and be self sufficent till the end, Sorry your 2 grown sons dont contact you its disgraceful, mine are the same. Where I come from we have a saying, ¨God save me from my children I can take care of my enemies¨

          • God bless you..
            Too bad nobody is brave enough to stand up & demonstrate(peacefully of course) and fight for our right to be treated with fairness as well as respect… the peace ppl from 60s & 70s never would’ve let this happen…
            We should all just get happily high & exercise our right to demonstrate & protect ourselves & elders from this unacceptable government encouraged unfair prejudice..

        • Yes I agree no respect for their elders. I don’t care who you are if you are running a business you should have respect for all your customers no matter what their ages are. These are our elders we look up to. Watch your mouth or they might get washed out with soap. My mother is the same way she does not understand much about the smartphones. So I understand where you’re coming from. God bless our elders.

      • Yes I agree no respect for their elders. I don’t care who you are if you are running a business you should have respect for all your customers no matter what their ages are. These are our elders we look up to. Watch your mouth or they might get washed out with soap. My mother is the same way she does not understand much about the smartphones. So I understand where you’re coming from. God bless our elders.

    • Jonathan Rodgers

      They have been doing this to us as well. Shut my Father’s phone off early while he was on the road. He is a truck driver. I told them to reactivate it & I have spoken for days about it. We have many things we have to do & for them to shut this phone down early & say they can’t activate it is a lie! AT&T is horrible! Our bill has gone outrageous as well! His phone is 4g lte & they still shut it off! So many from the company have told me I’m good to go. They took care of it. But they all lied! Aside from the fact that his phone was 4g, they still should not have shut it off 6 days early! We are not the only ones having issues with this either. Good luck to anyone having trouble!

      • Jonathan Rodgers

        I had to get a new phone because my old Galaxy S5 was no longer dependable. So I got the Galxy S21 FE as an upgrade with a discount. It is great, but the way these companies are doing people is very unprofessional! The phone is amazing, but the issues with the company is unacceptable!

    • Jonathan Rodgers

      They shut some of our phones off, even the ones with 4g lte. My Father’s phone got shut off early, & he is a truck driver on the road but my Momma’s phone, which is a 3g is still working so far. Crazy. The shut-off date was supposed to be February 22nd.

      • It says BY the 22nd. They were shutting phones off in phases up until then. Many people are misinterpreting these dates, it doesn’t mean that all phones will shut off on that date, it means phones will be shutting off randomly in phases, leading up to that date, and all phones will be deactivated BY that date. Nothing was shut down early. —someone who is young and works in this sector.

    • Yes our galaxy S9’s stopped working, and we were told tough luck they updated and added a ton more phones to make them incompatible. Pretty sick business practice. This is on par with Iphones updating your phone to be slower.

    • I just had problems with my safelink service and called the company. I was told my Galaxy S8 is no longer compatible with their service and was told that they will send me a new phone that will work. Unfortunately it is now on Verizon network and it doesn’t work in my area.

  7. Suzanne Boughton

    After waiting for what seems like hours on the phone for someone to answer my question and listening to that awful recording over and over again, I realized Tracfone does not give a damn about customers. I just got a second text message from Tracfone telling me I must upgrade my phone by 2/22 or lose service. What is this all about and why must I upgrade again? The last time it took forever and many phone calls (to speak to someone who was obviously from India) to get that phone to work – now I have to do it all over again. I will look into getting a whole new phone and service that will work – I have no reason to continue with Tracfone if I have to change. What wasn’t I told that before I bought more minutes and time for this phone? Is this a scam? Is this a fake text? Am I expected to continue to change my phone? If it ain’t broke – why fix it?

    • It’s not a scam, many of you guys are using obsolete/super old phones, that are being phased out in order to make way for the new tech. Times are changing folks, phones and technology are only going to continue in one direction, and that is the future. 3G and 4G technology is now decades old and 5G will be the new normal for the next couple of decades. Once you get your new phone that’s compatible you’ll have about 10 to 15 years with that before you’ll have to upgrade again when cell towers are re-optimized to keep up with the times. Why is this so difficult for people to understand?

  8. I have a BLU G9 Pro smartphone that I bought NEW in 2021, and TracFone is telling me it will stop working after Feb. 22. I spent $249 on this phone. It’s 4G LTE and according to BLU is VoLTE compatible; unfortunately, my SIM is an AT&T SIM and BLU doesn’t have any but two of their phones registered with AT&T. So, here I am with a brand new phone that is VoLTE capable, but because AT&T doesn’t support it, I’m basically screwed. As for SafeLink, their customer service is outsourced and the Reps are hard to understand. Those that I could understand were useless, and didn’t know jack. This is frustrating beyond words! I’ve seen on SafeLink’s website they’re still offering flip phones and sliders that will no longer work after Feb. 22. All their phones are out of stock, even the ones for purchase are WORSE than the phone I have right now. I don’t get it. This is so disorganized as to be laughable. But hey, they’re the corporate elites and is little people don’t even register on their radar.

    • Please realize that $249, US dollars I’m assuming, is relatively cheap for a new smart phone based on other phones that are more current. Again 4G LTE is now decades old technology and it is not compatible with where cell phones are heading into the future. Considering the newer iPhones are closer to $1000, and the newer android phones are also closer to $1000. You got yourself an extremely cheap, phone based on old technology and are confused as to why you’re being asked to upgrade?

  9. What are the model numbers and type of phones that will be turnt off by at&t on the 2/22/22

  10. I have an iPhone 7S So when is the cut off date for this phone

  11. Tracfone is a scam! Just purchased minutes before service went out leaving me on the road in Chicago driving without service. Caught me with my sister in the hospital & on dialysis.Such unnecessary stress-why wasn’t I told? Routed to the Philippines with hours waiting 9 different times before someone could help transfer minutes to new phone. It felt like a ransom situation. I was definitely held hostage. Disgusting-we need a class action lawsuit.

    • Tracfone (which also owns safelink) has the worst customer service imaginable. The reps read from a script, don’t listen to what you say, and are, for the most part, completely useless. And won’t approve the replacement phone unless they can verify the account by texting the dead phone. I’ve been getting the runaround for a week. I was finally able to order a phone for myself, but now I’m spinning my wheels trying to get one for my Mom. If you complain on their user forum they tell you to send a text (from you dead phone) or contact the same customer service number you’ve been calling. It’s horrible. But they do say they’re very sorry.

      • Go on the Safelink website and order new phone. Go to upgrade site. Pick out a free phone without going on the phone to order??!!

    • yes I agree.. my mother was in the hospital just had open heart surgery. I have service with Assurance Wireless. I’ve gone through seven phones all of which just quit working. I had them quit working when my mother was in the hospital and I had no means of communication whatsoever. If my mother had died I would never known it. This is what you get for government phone. Email me we’ll talk.

    • SafeLink we all need to stick together & Contact a news channel to get this issue on the air & file with better business bureau & state corporation.Safelink offers the service for free phone & does not stand by the terms.Safelinkbwoulrvrrather pass the book to each time you call you get a different answer with their rude staff.Can anyone help.They obvious do not care if you have a disability& he ave a need for the phone.I cannot stand a liar

  12. I have safelink and I don’t know what I am suppose to do to get my phone back on

  13. My rage and frustration and sense of injustice is inexpressible. Tracfone and Verizon are irresponsible, cruel, etc. The only silver lining is that I talked to two representatives who had roosters crowing in the background-which I liked. One was from Chile- unintelligible, and one in the Philippines named Pamela, who was intelligible and so kind- at her 5AM time. The customer service is a complete runaround and so stressful- even to the people who are answering the phones, if and when you can finally get through. It has cost me at least 6 hours and stress and unhappiness. The new phone is set up to misrepresent the service and lure the customer into paying more and more money. It is corrupt. It is laissez faire to the detriment of responsible prosocial behavior.
    I would love to join a class action suit to punish and reform Verizon’s and ATT&T’s cruel and irresponsible use of corporate power to raise the cost of services and manipulate the market. Where is the FCC and supervisorial oversight?
    The BLU smart phone I was forced to buy in order to use up the minutes I had already paid for to replace my Tracfone doesn’t even have directions about how to make a phone call. And there is no where I can find to tell how many minutes I have left. This is BS.

  14. My phone was released in Feb/April 2019. Moto G7 Plus Model XT1965-2 has VoLTE and 4G LTE capability. I realize that this model was not released for the USA. I know that T-Mobile has an exact clone of it (so they say on tech pages) called REVVL, that WILL be compatible though. That’s strange. Everything I look up for this phone, the statistics show it’s capable for not relying on 3G tech. Yet T-Mobile, AT&T Mint, etc, when you input the phone IMEI will say it’s not compatible. NO ONE can tell me exactly what feature is missing or what their network needs that my phone can’t provide. I can’t find anyone with enough tech savvy to tell me WHY I need to spend hundreds on a new phone or why my phone with VoLTE and 4G that’s a 3 year old smartphone won’t work for them. It could be that certain important 4G LTE Bands are missing and that’s a problem, but it would be good to have someone verify that for certain. I hate trash binning this perfectly decent phone. Frustrating!

  15. There is no reason to believe anything about anything we are told anymore. Those in charge want their changes to take place and they don’t want to deal with anyone’s problems. More and more I’m hearing , ” Simply just learn the New Way or do without”.
    Looking for assistance gets you on an endless loop. Try reading the manual? Good luck.

  16. What is going on with all the mis – communication and lack of respect
    to those who want answers. Everyone I speak to is so confused about
    this 3G being cut off after a certain date. I was promised 2 phones 13
    for the upgrade to a 5G with no increase in price and I could keep my
    plan. Now my phone company is trying to say that the 2 -5G are not
    being offered and that they want to do away with the plan I am on since it is an old plan.

  17. Will my IPhone 8 work on 4 or 5G?

  18. Is there a movement to protest the popup “ims lg stops working?” T-mobile is forcing us to buy new phones.

  19. Kathleen Paul.

    Be very careful what you sign with T-Mobile. They say it’s not a contract phone but it is a contract phone. If you get a good phone you’ll be one of the lucky ones. I got tired of talking to customer service so I just shut my service off. Customer service associates are very nice. The problem is they each tell you something different. Now I’m trying to deal with assurance, which is also T-mobile. I signed up with insurance years and years ago, that phone works for a long time. They upgraded so I have to get a new phone and this is the second one now and it still doesn’t work. I’m checking into a whole different carrier. If they want to fix this phone I have I’ll start my service back up. They tell me there’s nothing they can do for me. I hope this helped you.

  20. In years past, it was all so simple. You’d call somebody on the phone that was in a central place in the house. If you were wealthy, you also had a phone in the bedroom. I’m afraid we’re all being taken for rides by the makers of gadgets. And the gadgets are killing us, in many ways! Making us more worried than ever in the history of mankind. Stop relying so much on them. Give simplicity a chance.

  21. I can not even connect to my wi fi with my phone on my Apple 6 but are all phone being cut off it’s 5g apple 6

  22. I am hearing impaired my hearing aid works with my phone and my clear caption what happened went even family members are getting angry and upset and it’s hard when your in pain after a procedure in or left ear and the angry of a family member when phone services are leaving this area who can I reach out to there must be someone for disabled individuals can turn to without trying to tell member in their families who are upset with the system or your Phone They think I shouldn’t have my phones It’s like so money spend on hearing aid and phone system and then it’s gone then am left with no communication and people think your mentally I’ll because your trying to hear or read their lip and can not respond when they need that response. What would you do? Or go and where my civil right as a senior with disability

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