AT&T asks users to buy a new phone to avoid losing service - for changes coming in 2022

AT&T is sending out a poorly worded email to many customers urging them to update their devices to avoid disruptions in service. The email (screenshots by AndroidPolice below) suggests that the users’ devices are not “compatible with the new network”, and that they need to “replace it to continue receiving service”.

The communication does not explicitly mention what warrants the device upgrade or what timelines are in place for the service disruption. However, heading to the link provided in the email that directs to a support page reveals that the communication is to warn users about the company’s switch away from 3G networks, which is happening in February 2022. The carrier is moving to VoLTE (Voice over LTE) based calling – which the firm calls HD Voice – and will stop supporting 3G and 4G devices that do not support the technology.

Interestingly, the email communication has likely been sent to many users – including those that are running unlocked versions not purchased through the carrier or phones that have not been whitelisted by the company yet. A thread on the carrier’s Community Forums has users wondering if the communication is legitimate at all, since customers who bought devices like the Galaxy S10e or Nokia 6.1 – that support VoLTE – are also receiving the email. The company’s supported devices list itself lists the S10e, leading to more confusion.

In times of the pandemic that is causing an economic stain on many people, such an alarming email that urges users to upgrade their devices to avoid service disruption without any context is clearly uncalled for. It will be interesting to see if AT&T provides any clarification on the said communication.

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