The days of T-Mobile’s 3G network are numbered, and once it shuts down, older Google Pixel phones will be pretty much useless.
T-Mobile recently closed 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 functionally unusable.
Google rolled out a VoLTE roaming update a few days back to some of his best phones 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 begin shutting down its 3G networks in July and devices that don’t support VoLTE will lose voice calling services
Google’s Fi-Mobile Service explains on her website
that some unsupported devices may lose voice calling services when 3G networks are phased out. That means you can’t use your phone for voice calls, even in emergencies, and you have minimal connectivity. However, you can still use Wi-Fi to make calls. Coverage on 4G and 5G networks is not affected.
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 to make calls while roaming.
The good news is that only a few people own a 3G handset these days, so most users won’t be bothered by it.