DARKE COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – If you have an older phone you may have to be prepared for it to stop working in 2022.

The Darke County Sheriff’s Office said older phones may cease operating in early 2022 due to the retirement of 3G networks and support for phones using 3G service. This may include other devices that use 3G connectivity, such as some medical alert devices, tablets, smart watches and home security systems.

According to the release, the nation’s three major wireless carriers (AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile) have each announced that they plan on discontinuing 3G service in favor of 4G (LTE) and 5G service next year. According to the FCC’s website, AT&T will discontinue service in February, T-Mobile/Sprint will discontinue service between March and July, and Verizon will discontinue service at the end of 2022.

The sheriff’s office said most users of these services will be notified directly by the carriers if this discontinuation affects them. However, users of older phones used for 911 only purposes may not be notified if they do not have active service with the provider.

Low-income individuals who are concerned that their 911 only phones may no longer be supported should consider applying for service through the federal Lifeline Program. Information on eligibility and participating providers can be found at www.lifelinesupport.org.

If you’re not sure if your device will still work, you should contact the carrier or manufacturer of your service or equipment.