Facepalm: What would you do if your mobile service provider told you that you had to upgrade your phone or else you will lose service? That's the question some AT&T users are facing right now. The company has sent out an ill-advised reminder that it is ending 3G support but neglected to give the email any context.
According to AT&T's support forum, some customers have received emails stating that they "need" to buy a new phone, or they will lose service. That paraphrase might sound ludicrously exaggerated, but as Android Police screenshots point out, it's not.
Some took it to be an ultimatum. At least one user on the AT&T support forum thought the email was a scam and was seeking answers. Although the company has not responded in any official capacity, visiting links included in the email reveals that it is nothing more than a poorly worded and ill-timed reminder that the carrier will be dropping support for 3G in 2022, which it announced in February 2019.
The urgency implied in the email is unwarranted, especially considering many customers are probably suffering economic hardships right now due to the coronavirus. The last thing that most people want to hear right about now is, "You need to get a new phone, or we will cut your service." The fact that the email came with no stated context made the matter even worse.
If you received one of these notifications from AT&T, here's the TL;DR. You do not have to worry about upgrading your phone until February 2022 at the very latest. As long as you phone supports 4G LTE and HD Voice, you won't need a new phone. Your device does not have to be a 5G phone.
That means that iPhone users don't need to worry about it at all unless their phone is older than an iPhone 6. it's a little more complicated for Android phones since there is such a wide variety of devices out in the wild. If you are unsure if your phone supports HD Voice over 4G LTE, take a peek at AT&T's list of compatible devices.
In the meantime, I'm betting that AT&T quickly issues an apology for firmly planting its foot in its mouth. The proverbial crow eating cannot come soon enough either. The carrier has an earnings conference call coming up this week on Thursday, and the negative press is undoubtedly not going to sit well with investors.