And after April, be able to activate VoLTE capable devices only...
I was surprised to see this, considering that it was less than 2 weeks ago that I first saw that AT&T had started enabling VoLTE on it's own AT&T Prepaid network.
One hopes that they remember to enable VoLTE on all the MVNOs before they discontinue activating non-VoLTE phones.
(The AT&T announcement is for no new non-VoLTE activations after January 1, 2020.)
Early reports are that some recent flagship phones are not VoLTE capable on the AT&T network, at least at this time..
I think that an FCC that was at all interested in protecting consumers would be very upset by the short notice carriers have provided in sunsetting, and the poor job networks have done to provide information on what will work, and what won't.
So here's a tale of how concerned AT&T is for their MVNO customers......
In a nutshell, a hurricane damaged AT&T cell towers in an area with previously good coverage. When rebuilding the towers, AT&T decided to double down on LTE tower conversion rather than spending money replacing 3G transmitters that they're planning on decommissioning in a few years.
The OP in the link has Tracfone/AT&T. Of course, AT&T hasn't permitted VoLTE rollout on most of their MVNOs yet. So no cellular voice coverage exists for those customers, although LTE data is healthier than previously.
Great business decision although kind of F-UP.
The source on this is ONE Reddit user who mostly posts on /r/gtaglitches. Terrible sourcing, PPPN.
Is your comment about "terrible sourcing" specifically related to info in the original link that "AT&T's plans to end activation on devices that do not support VoLTE or HD Voice after January 1, 2020.", or to the longer-ranger 2022 shut down of 3G, or to some other bit of info, reporting, or speculation?
(I'm not arguing, just want to make sure what part you're not comfortable accepting-- I appreciate your knowledge!)
WSJ: AT&T Gives 3G Service Three Years to Live (Feb. 21, 2019)
AT&T Plans to Shutdown its 3G Network in 2022
"To help address the growing customer demand for mobile services, AT&T plans to fully discontinue service on our 3G network in February 2022. This will enable us to free up valuable spectrum and provide increased speed and capacity for our more advanced technologies like 4G LTE, low-power wide-area (LPWA) networks and 5G."
"In some markets, it may be necessary for us to turn down one band of our owned and operated 3G network, such as 1900 MHz or 850 MHz service, ahead of February 2022."
"To prepare for this transition, we are providing notice that you must stop activating or reactivating SIMs that use 3G technology. Specifically, if your agreement with AT&T currently allows 3G activations or reactivations and lists a 3G stop activation date, you must stop on that date. If no date is listed, you must stop within one year from the date of this letter or the end of the 3G stop activation notice period in your agreement, whichever is later."
FAQ: AT&T 3G Shutdown
Reddit: AT&T HSPA Network Shutdown in Feb 2022
I think I'm just burned out on this one-guy-on-reddit sourcing that is really common these days. It gets posted as fact without confirmation from the company. Sometimes, the sources are indirect dealers, who have a completely different support track than postpaid, and sometimes the information received by the indirect dealers is incomplete.
Thank you for sourcing this, st3fx. I wish PPPN would do the same and amend the story as written.
The collection of links from st3fx has lots of confirmation of the 2022 3G sunset, but seems to lack confirmation of the discontinuation of non-VOLTE phones after January 2020, unless I missed it. The Reddit link comes closest, but the information seems specific to IOT device activation, not phones. (That said, I would expect a change in IOT devices to lag a similar policy regarding phones.)
A related question is what prevents someone from activating service on an eligible LTE device and transferring the SIM to an ineligible device.
For certain plans (eg; Connected Car), AT&T can restrict to specific devices.
Perhaps for standard plans, consumers will still be able to use 3G devices "unofficially" up until the actual 3G sunset deadline.
That question had occurred to me, too, st3fx! I believe AT&T has the capability to see what phone is actually in use, although historically they haven't cared. If they start caring, will they only care at the moment of activation? (Metro PCS being the example of a GSM provider that does care, even after initial SIM activation.)
AT&T isn't going to spend much energy tracking down people who activate on an LTE device and then swap the SIM to a non-LTE device. Most people won't go through that trouble. AT&T's thinking will be if a customer goes out to acquire an LTE device, the customer is going to want to use that instead of equipment that is about to be obsolete. If you're one of the exceptions, just be prepared for your phone to not work in 2022.