While the end of 3G service was inevitable, the reality of it all is just now coming to light on the eve of the shutdown. We initially highlighted the consequences of this change back in December and despite pushback of the 5G rollout driving the shutdown, technology marches forever forward. Now, with AT&T's mighty finger hovering over the off-switch, there's nothing affected consumers can do except sit back and watch the sun go down.
AT&T's sunsetting is the first wide-scale shutdown of the major U.S. 3G network. It affects somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 models across 12 automakers, all built between 2012 and 2022. When we spoke with automakers late last year on the shutdown, many were able to tell us which cellular networks its vehicles operated on. Because of this, we pinpointed many of the models which may be affected by Tuesday’s shutdown in one way or another.
Just because the above vehicles are affected by the 3G shutdown doesn't mean they'll be unusable. The cars will all still start and drive (assuming they're in mechanically sound condition, of course). The changes are mostly varying degrees of sudden technological ineptness, offset in certain cars by proactive updates from the manufacturers.
General Motors, for example, planned for this switchover to eventually occur and has pushed an over-the-air software update to keep OnStar functional in many of its vehicles. Some built prior to 2015, however, will require a hardware swap. Honda is performing a similar OTA update in many of its vehicles, though it has to be performed before the shutoff date in order to avoid a potentially costly dealer visit. Volkswagen, Tesla, Volvo, Ford, and others will be offering a hardware upgrade for some vehicles as well.
If your vehicle isn't listed above, it doesn't mean that you're in the clear. Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon all have 3G networks which are facing the same fate by the end of 2022. For a full list of automakers and affected vehicles, you can check out our original coverage here.