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3G networks will soon disappear, and with them many functions of your car: what automakers recommend

The 3G wireless network was once one of the hottest innovations in the world. Today, it has outlived itself as fifth generation (5G) and even sixth generation (6G) networks will soon dominate the technology world. 3G networks will disappear this year - and that's bad news for your car, reports MakeIt.

Photo: Shutterstock

Every major mobile operator is planning to shut down their 3G network this year, largely to free up mobile bandwidth for the upcoming 5G network rollout. If your smartphones and tablets were purchased within the last decade, they should have 4G support, which means they are more likely to be unaffected.

However, your car may be a different story.

As several automotive blogs recently pointed out, the 3G shutdown will affect dozens of car models released at any time between 2010 and 2021. Some vehicles will lose the ability to update your location and traffic data while navigating. Others will not be able to connect to your smartphone, voice assistants, or emergency call services.

If you drive certain Honda, Nissan, or Volvo models, AT&T's 3G shutdown is planned for February. Verizon-affiliated brands like Toyota and Lexus may have more time: Verizon says the 3G shutdown will happen "no later than" December 31st. T-Mobile plans to shut down its 3G Sprint and T-Mobile networks between March and July.

Some major car companies have posted information about which models of their vehicles will be affected by the shutdown and what steps owners can take to ensure their vehicles don't lose certain connected features after the shutdown.

Other automakers, such as Bentley and Stellantis, have acknowledged that some of their vehicles will be affected, but declined to specify which models.

Here is the current list of commonly known affected models:

Acura:

  • MDX models released between 2014 and 2017
  • ILX (2016-2017)
  • RDX (2016-2017)
  • RDX (2019-2021)
  • RLX (2014-2016)
  • TLX (2015-2017)
  • NSX (2017)

On the Acura website Seven different vehicle models are listed with AcuraLink 3G functionality, including real-time traffic and maintenance reminders, emergency calls and advanced roadside assistance services, and some personal concierge services. The Japanese luxury brand, owned by Honda, says drivers should go to a dealer to update their car's hardware if they want to continue using these services after 3G networks go down.

Audi:

  • A3 e-Tron (2016-2018)
  • A4/Allroad (2013-2018)
  • A5 (2013-2018)
  • A6 (2012-2015)
  • A7 (2012-2015)
  • A8 (2012-2018)
  • RS 5 (2019)
  • Q3 (2015-2018)
  • Q5 (2013-2018)
  • Q7 (2012-2018)

For each of 10 models Audiaffected by the 3G outage, Audi's website offers an overview of the connected features that will be lost, from online roadside assistance and stolen car search features to real-time fuel prices and traffic light information.

On the subject: Apple is developing a fully autonomous car: the steering wheel and pedals are not included

The German luxury car maker is advising owners to visit a dealer to deactivate their 3G equipment. Failure to do so will result in vehicles "displaying a warning message… and beeping to alert the driver that the vehicle is not connected and emergency services are unavailable."

In December, Audi and automotive software maker Mojio also announced a hardware update that should allow owners of affected models to connect to 4G networks.

BMW :

In April 2021, BMW published FAQ page, noting that all "factory vehicles equipped with 3G telematics devices or upgraded 2G vehicles" will be completely disconnected from their ConnectedDrive and BMW Assist services. The page declined to specify which models are included, but according to The Drive, you're safe if your car is from 2019 or later.

BMW said it will contact owners of affected vehicles to let them know if their vehicle is eligible for the free upgrade. According to the FAQ page, not all vehicles will be eligible.

General Motors:

Even relatively new General Motors vehicles can be affected: CM and its connected features platform OnStar announced last year that the 3G outage would affect "certain 2015 and newer GM vehicles."

In October, GM began offering wireless software updates to prepare its fleet for the shutdown, which OnStar says will happen in February. According to OnStar, some vehicle models will automatically update while others will be prompted on the dashboard to install a software update.

Updates will continue "until all affected vehicles have been successfully updated," according to the OnStar website.

Sling:

  • Accord Touring (2018-2020)
  • Odyssey's Touring and Elite versions (2018-2020)
  • Insight Touring (2019-2020)
  • Passport's Touring and Elite versions (2019-2021)
  • Pilot's Touring, Elite and Black Edition versions (2019-2022)

On the Honda website listed February 22, 2022 as the date when the 3G outage will affect several of its models. The company is offering a wireless software update that should re-enable car features such as remote locking, improved roadside assistance and Wi-Fi hotspots.

Lexus:

According to Branch, the 3G shutdown will affect all models launched by the Toyota-owned luxury brand between 2010 and 2017, as well as 2018 GX models. The shutdown of these vehicles will take place on October 31, 2022. Pinpoint features such as automatic collision notification and advanced roadside assistance will stop working permanently.

So far, Toyota and Lexus have not announced any plans for software or hardware upgrades.

Nissan:

  • Altima (2016-2017)
  • GT-R (2017-2018)
  • Maxima (2016-2017)
  • 2017 Murano
  • 2017 Pathfinder
  • Rogue (2016-2017)
  • Rogue Sport (2017-2018)
  • Sentra (2016-2018)
  • TITAN (2016-2017) and 2017 TITAN XD
  • Some 2011-2015 LEAF EVs with upgraded 3G telematics units

In December, Nissan reported that affected vehicles would lose 3G connectivity due to the AT&T shutdown in February, and that the company had contacted vehicle owners to let them know about the issue. If you have one of the above models and haven't heard from Nissan yet, the company recommends calling 1-855-426-6628 to see if your vehicle is affected.

Nissan has yet to announce any plans to update the software or hardware of the affected owners.

Porsche:

  • 911 (2017-2019)
  • 918 Spyder (2014)
  • 718 (2017-2021)
  • Cayenne (2015-2019)
  • Macan (2017-2018)
  • Panamera (2014-2018)

According to company website, the Porsche vehicles listed above will lose their 3G connectivity on February 22, which will disable various remote control and security features. Porsche adds that some, but not all, vehicles will be eligible for a technology upgrade to make these connected features work.

The company's website says it will notify car owners via email if their cars are eligible for an upgrade.

Subaru:

  • Crosstrek (2016-2019)
  • Forester (2016-2018)
  • Legacy (2016-2018)
  • Impreza (2016-2018)
  • WRX (2017-2018)
  • WRX STI (2017-2018)
  • Outback (2016-2018)

At its website Japanese automaker Subaru says its seven affected models will lose 3G connectivity in February, affecting features such as "emergency SOS" and the ability to remotely lock and unlock your car. However, a free software update is available to Subaru Starlink Safety Plus or Security Plus connected service subscribers.

Tesla:

In July Tesla announcedthat its luxury Model S sedans built before June 2015 will lose connectivity in February 2022 unless owners pay a Tesla dealer $200 to install an upgraded LTE-enabled modem.

Without the update, affected Model S sedans will lose a host of connected features, including wireless software updates, real-time traffic data, music streaming, and the Summon Tesla feature, which allows owners to remotely call their car in a parking lot to pick it up nearby without a driver.

Toyota:

  • 4Runner (2010-2019)
  • Avalon (2013-2018)
  • Camry (2013-2017)
  • Highlander (2014-2018)
  • Land Cruisers (2011-2017)
  • Mirai (2016-2017)
  • Prius (2010-2016)
  • Prius Plug-in (2012-2015)
  • Prius V (2012-2016)
  • RAV4 EV (2012-2014)
  • Sienna (2011-2017)

On the Toyota website it states that 3G connectivity for affected models will end on November 1st. The company is advising vehicle owners to contact a Toyota dealership by December 1 to determine if their vehicle is eligible for a free software update and to schedule an appointment.

Toyota says if your car doesn't meet the requirements, you'll simply lose access to features like automatic collision notification, advanced roadside assistance, and emergency assistance that helps locate your car if it's stolen.

Volkswagen:

  • Atlas (2018-2019)
  • Arteon (2018-2019)
  • Beetle (2014-2019)
  • CC (2014-2018)
  • eos (2014-2017)
  • Multiple Golf editions (2014-2019)
  • Jetta (2014-2019)
  • Past (2014-2019)
  • Tiguan (2014-2019)

Connected features Volkswagen available to drivers on a subscription basis, so unless you're a paid subscriber, you won't be missing anything. However, if you drive one of the above models and have an active Car-Net subscription, in February you will lose features such as emergency and roadside assistance, vehicle status reports, and the ability to check fuel levels remotely.

VW's website says "more information will be available in the coming months" for customers who want to continue using the Car-Net platform after the closure, and that drivers should check the information closer to the shutdown date in February.

Volvo:

  • S60 (2015.5-2018
  • V60 (2015.5-2018)
  • V60 Cross Country (2015.5-2018)
  • XC60 (2015.5-2017)
  • XC70 (2015.5-2016)
  • XC90 (2016)

Volvo's mobile partner is AT&T, which means affected vehicles will lose their 3G connectivity in February. Turning it off will disable features such as real-time traffic updates and in-car access to the Volvo On Call app, which offers emergency assistance and remote tracking.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants, and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York.

On the Swedish company website it says it will offer the update to at least some affected vehicle owners, who will be asked to fill out an online form for more information.

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