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AT&T tells customers to buy new phones or lose network access but doesn’t say they have until 2022

AT&T urged its customers with older phones to buy new devices in a forcefully worded email that suggested they would imminently lose access to its network.

As reported by Android Police, the telecom company alerted customers with older phones in a recent email with a header that read in all-caps, ‘UPDATE NEEDED.’

The body then proceeded to tell customers that their phone ‘is not compatible with the new network and you need to replace it to continue receiving service’ due to a network change that’s coming ‘soon.’

Notably absent from the email, however, is the fact that customers with affected devices will have until early 2022 to actually buy a new phone, as confirmed via AT&T by The Verge.

The date only appears in a link to a separate webpage on AT&T’s website which is included in the email. 

Though misleadingly worded, the email does reference a very real change in which customers using AT&T’s 3G network will have to upgrade to continue using the provider. 

As noted by The Verge, phones that don’t support HD Voice calls, which routes  calls through 4G LTE will no longer be able to make calls or use data on AT&T’s network.

In a statement, AT&T said that the wording of the email was a genuine mistake.

‘This email was one of many planned to keep customers informed about the shutdown of our 3G network in early 2022,’ the company said.

‘It should have included the date that certain devices would no longer be supported. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused and will be more clear in future updates.’

The email comes with interesting timing as AT&T announced this week that it lost monthly phone subscribers in addition to $2.8 billion in revenue as a result of delayed movie releases and advertising shortfalls fueled by COVID-19.  

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