AT&T is giving customers affected by the 3G shutdown a free phone
AT&T will shut down its 3G network by February next year. If you happen to have a device that won’t work on the network after the shutdown, you can now get your hands on a free replacement phone from the company.
Late last month, we shared a list of devices that will continue to work on AT&T after the 3G shutdown. If your device is not on the list, chances are you’ll need to get a replacement before February next year. Thankfully, AT&T is offering a free replacement phone (via Android Police) for those who want it.
To claim the free phone, you can head over to att.com/AcceptMyPhone, verify your phone number, and your new phone should arrive in the next few weeks. However, before you go ahead and do that, you should probably take a look at the replacement phone:
That’s an AT&T RADIANT Core, a budget phone from 2019 that was first introduced as a reasonable option for AT&T’s prepaid customers. It usually retails for $70, but it’s currently available at a 50 percent discount. The phone packs a 490p display, a single 5MP camera, 16GB of storage with a microSD card slot for expansion up to 64GB, 1GB of RAM, and a removable 2,500mAh battery. It runs Android 9 Pie out of the box and, as you’d expect, it supports VoLTE.
We wouldn’t recommend getting the RADIANT Core, even though AT&T is giving it away for free. It will likely be a massive downgrade for almost everyone affected by the 3G shutdown. It probably won’t last you very long either, so you’ll end up purchasing a new phone regardless. AT&T itself offers several other devices that cost around $100-$150 and offer VoLTE support. Alternatively, you can check out our list of the best cheap Android phones to pick a device that would better suit your needs.
Update 1: Surprise! AT&T is now sending better Android phones
AT&T customers who still rely on the carrier’s soon-to-be-dead 3G network have been getting free upgrades to new devices that are compliant with the carrier’s 4G LTE network. Flip phone users were getting newer flip phones, iPhone users were getting second-gen iPhone SE units, and Android users were getting the RADIANT Core. The RADIANT Core is a terrible device, though, and thankfully, it looks like AT&T is done giving them out.
According to AndroidPolice, the carrier has started to send out much better-specced Samsung phones as part of its process to get users off its 3G network. Some of the phones that people have been getting include the Galaxy Note 9, the Galaxy Note 10, the Galaxy S9, and the Galaxy A11s. All of these phones are better than the RADIANT Core, though some users are luckier than users. The reason that users are getting a variety of phones is due to inventory constraints, according to an AT&T spokesperson:
“We have not changed our plans to replace 3G network-dependent devices. However, inventory constraints mean we sometimes must find substitutes for some devices.”