The days of T-Mobile’s 3G network are numbered, and once it’s turned off, older Google Pixel phones will be pretty much useless.
T-Mobile recently shut down its subsidiary Sprint’s 3G CDMA network and introduced a new technology called Voice over 5G New Radio technology, or VoNR. The carrier says it allows faster call setup times and better call quality than 4G Voice over LTE or VoLTE.
VoLTE are voice calls over a 4G LTE network. It delivers better call quality compared to 2G and 3G connections. After 3G networks are disabled, phones that do not support VoLTE roaming may become unusable.
Google rolled out a VoLTE roaming update to some of its best phones a few days ago, including the Pixel 6 duo, Pixel 5 and 5a (5G), Pixel 4a and 4a (5G), Pixel 4 duo, and Pixel 3a and 3a. XL.
T-Mobile will start shutting down its 3G networks in July and devices that don’t support VoLTE will lose voice calling services
Google recommends that you upgrade to a new phone if you think the T-Mobile 3G shutdown will affect you. The Pixel 1 and Pixel 2 will definitely be affected and users of these phones will not be connected when roaming domestically. If you have a Pixel 3, you may have fewer options for making calls while roaming.
The good news is that few people own a 3G handset these days, so most users won’t be bothered by it.