As cellphone carriers across the country continue to prepare for a phase-out of 3G phones and equipment, Rhode Island State Police are urging residents to beware that the changes could impact their ability to make an emergency call.

The phasing out will impact the ability of those with outdated equipment, with the removal of 3G networks rendering those who attempt to use the network unable to connect to 911.

“We want to make sure that all Rhode Islanders are aware that the phasing out of 3G will impact their ability to call 911,” said Col. James M. Manni, state police superintendent. of Rhode Island and director of the Department of Public Safety. “If you have an older mobile phone, you may need to upgrade your device to ensure you have coverage and access to 911.”

On January 1, 2022, mobile carriers will begin shutting down 3G networks to support more advanced network services.

Many older cell phones will not be able to use data or make or receive calls and texts, including 911 calls. This will affect 3G cell phones, as well as some older 4G cell phones that do not support voice calls over LTE.

Rhode Islanders are advised to contact their wireless carrier for more information on the potential impact of removing 3G on their phones.

—Jason Vallee

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