Mobile network operators are getting ready to shut down their 3G networks in order to free up resources for 5G. In the US, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon are all expected to pull the plug by the end of 2022.
Odds are that most smartphone users have already migrated to 4G or newer devices, but there are still some 3G devices still in operation. And now Amazon is contacting customers with some of those devices to let them know they may lose the ability to connect to the internet starting in December, 2021. That’s because some of the oldest Kindle eReaders only support 3G and not WiFi.
The first-gen Kindle was released in 2007 and the only way it could connect to the internet to download eBooks was by Amazon’s “Whispernet” service, which connected to Sprint’s 3G data network. The same was true of the Kindle 2, Kindle DX, and several other early models.
Eventually Amazon started offering WiFi models, with 3G as an option customers could pay more for when buying devices like the Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard, and Kindle Paperwhite (1st-gen). If you have one of those models, you’ll still be able to connect to the internet via WiFi even after the 3G network shutdown.
But if you have one of the oldest Kindle devices, there are your options:
- Just use them to read content already downloaded to your device. If you’re like me, you’ve probably accumulated a lot of books on your Kindle that you haven’t ready yet anyway. Now’s a good excuse to work through them.
- Connect your Kindle to a computer with a USB cable to copy data to and from your device. Third-party software like Calibre can make eBook management and USB data transfers a lot easier.
- Upgrade to a newer model.
Amazon is offering some incentives to help with that last option: the company tells Android Police that folks with a first-gen Kindle can get credit good for a top-of-the-line Kindle Oasis, although your results may vary.
Of course, other options include just giving up on Kindle hardware altogether and using the Kindle app to purchased eBooks on your smartphone or tablet, or buying a new device from a different company altogether.