Analog Cell Phone Network To Shut Down
In 2008 mobile carriers will begin shutting down the analog cell phone network.
Starting February 19, 2008, cell phone carriers, including AT&T, Alltel and Verizon Wireless, will be turning off their analog networks. Other mobile carriers including Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile do not have analog networks and their customers will not be affected.
If you own a cell phone that is more than five years old and does not have texting or Internet features it means that your mobile phone is analog and will not operate after February 19, 2008. The carrier’s say that only 1 percent of all cell phones in the U.S. are analog, but that could amount to about 1 million mobile users.
Here is how you can tell if you will be affected. "If you don’t know whether your current handset is digital or analog, there are several ways to find out," according to the FCC. "If your wireless phone has advanced features such as text or instant messaging, Internet browsing, an MP3 player or an integrated camera, it is digital."
"If your wireless phone uses a SIM card (a small, removable card that can be found under your phone’s battery), it is digital. Some wireless phones display an icon indicating that they have digital capabilities. If you have an older model ‘bag’ phone, it is probably analog."
OnStar will stop analog service at midnight December 31. "OnStar advises that analog-only equipped vehicles (generally, cars older than 2003 models) cannot be upgraded and that OnStar service in such vehicles will not work after Dec. 31, 2007," according to the FCC.
People with alarm systems could also be affected. About one million out of 26 million alarm systems installed in the U.S. use analog technology.
The FCC decided in 2002 to allow carries to turn off their analog networks in 2008, which will free up the radio spectrum and allows digital technology to be used more efficiently.