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AT&T claims a phone made in 2019 will stop working, urges users to upgrade

AT&T claims a mobile phone designed in 2019 will prevent performing, urges buyers to improve

Enlarge / A man walks with an umbrella outdoors of AT&T company headquarters on March 13, 2020, in Dallas, Texas.

AT&T is sending emails to clients warning them that their telephones will prevent functioning quickly and that they should buy a new telephone to keep on having data and voice company. But the e mail is misleading for the reason that these older phones will keep on doing the job on AT&T’s network right until 2022, or a different 18 months. Even even worse, the AT&T e mail is going to some buyers whose phones have the modern-day technology desired to continue functioning immediately after the 2022 cutoff.

“We will quickly be upgrading our community to use the newest systems,” the AT&T e-mail explained, as shown in an write-up posted nowadays by Android Law enforcement. “But your device… is not suitable with the new community and you have to have to carry on to change it to continue getting support. Our crew is right here to assistance you uncover a appropriate gadget that matches your desires.” The e-mail advertises “free of charge identical-working day delivery” for new telephones.

The email backlinks to an AT&T assistance site titled, “Get completely ready, 3G is likely absent in 2022.” The support web site says AT&T is phasing out its 3G community by February 2022 and that “The moment we do, 3G products and 4G wi-fi equipment that really don’t guidance High definition Voice will no for a longer time function on our network.”

Although the electronic mail to consumers links to that website page, the email by itself can make it sound like telephones will stop doing work in the in the vicinity of potential relatively than 18 months from now. Individuals who get the electronic mail and really don’t simply click the link may feel they have to get a new cellular phone now.

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What’s more, some shoppers are having the e-mail even although they presently have phones that aid 4G and the Voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology that enables AT&T’s High definition Voice provider. 1 customer who suspected the AT&T e-mail was a scam wrote on an AT&T assist forum yesterday:

I just obtained an e mail from AT&T that their network is no longer suitable to my system and I ought to up grade. Initially off, this electronic mail to me sounded fishy. There was odd letters and figures in the e-mail deal with line. With this ongoing pandemic regretably you have to be pretty careful what is genuine and not a fraud. Is this legit or no? My mobile phone is in excess of a year outdated, an Android S10E.

The Samsung Galaxy S10E pointed out by that buyer was introduced in March 2019 and is able of supporting Hd Voice, as AT&T’s very own web site confirms. Yet another person who obtained the electronic mail wrote on the support discussion board that “I confirmed my cellphone supports 4G and Hd voice, which is what AT&T said was needed. There are quite a few a lot more phones than what they record that assistance both equally 4G and Hd voice. Another person is possibly lazy, or lying.”

Appears like a fraud, but AT&T staff suggests it is authentic

A single forum poster believed the email is a “fraud for positive” mainly because “no yr-previous telephone is heading to be out of the blue incompatible.” But the email was legit. In a different AT&T guidance thread in which a buyer questioned right now if the electronic mail was a fraud, an AT&T worker replied, “It can be not a fraud. AT&T is shutting down 3G so phones that are not VoLTE appropriate will never get the job done anymore.”

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We contacted AT&T today and will update this report if the company responses our issues.

The challenge seemingly will come down not to whether or not the cellphone itself has the engineering to guidance Hd Voice but no matter if AT&T has “whitelisted” it. Android Law enforcement wrote that “AT&T only whitelists a small number of handsets it instantly sells to customers for 4G voice calling, and it appears like even equivalent non-provider telephones you should not always work with the carrier’s High definition Voice provider, like the aforementioned Galaxy S10E. Depending on how several handsets are incompatible, this e-mail may have gone out to a major quantity of subscribers.”

In the AT&T assist forum, a person shopper wrote, “It’s very tone-deaf to urge individuals to acquire a new cell phone all through an financial crisis. It really is also well worth noting that lots of of the influenced phones (such as my Nokia 6.1) help High definition Voice AT&T just has not bothered to whitelist them.” The Nokia 6.1 works by using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor, which supports Voice more than LTE.

This AT&T webpage has a list of “High definition Voice-capable devices that function on our network.” The Galaxy S10E is one particular of people products, but the Nokia 6.1 is not. The AT&T website also has a list of unlocked phones that assistance High definition Voice, which yet again features the Samsung Galaxy S10E but not the Nokia 6.1.

“Upgrade or die!”

A different assist thread was began by a buyer who requested why AT&T “advised me that my mobile phone [a Google Pixel 3A Plus] is no for a longer time suitable with AT&T.” The AT&T listing of High definition Voice-able equipment involves the Pixel 3A and 3A XL, so this seems to be a client who acquired an incorrect notification.

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Aside from the AT&T e-mail seemingly likely to men and women who should not have gotten it, the e-mail alone struck customers as bewildering. One consumer complained that “the ‘Upgrade or die!’ electronic mail was basically poorly formatted” and “effectively information-free—one had to abide by links to get any more facts. When I foolishly tried to follow a website link it broke anyway, reinforcing the thought that the email was bogus.”

The customer who called AT&T “tone-deaf” claimed that the improve “has been really inadequately communicated” and made available some commonsense ideas for the provider, writing:

I hope AT&T will make factors greater by:

  • Clarifying that affected equipment will go on to get the job done by means of February 2022.
  • Making it possible for all products that assistance High definition Voice to use individuals attributes on the AT&T network.
  • Updating the “Provide Your Possess Product” website page to make clear these constraints.

Update at 4:25pm ET: AT&T offered Ars a statement in which it apologized for the confusing electronic mail to buyers. “This email was 1 of lots of prepared to keep consumers educated about the shutdown of our 3G community in early 2022,” AT&T claimed. “It ought to have incorporated the date that sure units would no for a longer period be supported. We apologize for any confusion this may possibly have prompted and will be much more obvious in potential updates.” AT&T did not solution our issues about how quite a few individuals the e-mail went to and why it seemingly went to some shoppers who have 4G telephones that aid High definition Voice.