ELI5; Can old flap phones/burner phones run on the new 5G network?

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In the Netherlands they announce that the 2G/3G phone signals will soon not be available anymore. So those old flip phones and burners would not be able to text or call because the network is updated?

Please #ELI5

*I asked about this in a local phone store and they told me those old phones can’t be used anymore once they remove 2G/3G from the network to optimise 5G

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There are many LTE-compatible flip/basic phones sold for many years now which also circumvent the issue of 3g networks being phased out.

I personally haven’t seen a native 5Gnr flipphone, but i guess it’s only a matter of time

I would not put my money on 2G and 3G phone signals being shut off just yet. There are a lot of systems designed to work 20-50 years which depend on 2G and 3G network connectivity which would be very expensive and time consuming to replace. I am sure they will try for a period but might still have to put these cell towers back. As for these old cheap phones they will also be affected by such a disruption in service. You can however get LTE/4G phones for fairly low prices and they would still work.

What you have been told is correct, old 2G and 3G phones will not operate once the network gets shut off. Note, you can still buy old style phones that operate on the newer network, but the old phones will just stop functioning.

Note, this has happened before, and it will happen again. Old GSM phones eventually got shut off, the old EDGE network phones also eventually came to an end. One day we will shut off 4g networks, and on that day all the 4g phones will also stop working.

We think of these cell phones as being kind of interchangeable but the truth is that a 3g network is very different than a modern LTE or 5G one. Phones that are able to access both actually have separate hardware to access each network. So if a phone was built to only work on a 3g network, once the 3g network gets shut off the phone literally can’t access any other networks.

The older networks are being shut off because the frequency space that they operate on is going to be repurposed for something else.

ELI5 The older phone services are limited in the number of people that can use them and how much stuff those people can access at once. With newer technology more people can share more information in a single area. The old equipment costs money to keep running and only lasts for so long. The old equipment already has too many people trying to share too much stuff. The phone companies have a choice to make soon. A lot of old equipment is about to be too old to work any more. They either need to replace it with the same thing and let peoples’ services get overloaded and fail, or they need to make an upgrade to a system that will work for more people and allow them to share more information. The old service has to go away because people do not want to pay twice as much for phone service to keep outdated technology available to people that did not plan their life choices very well.