Some of Amazon’s older Kindle devices will lose cellular connectivity in the U.S. this year.
This is not Amazon’s doing; it’s due to the simple fact that U.S. carriers are phasing out 2G and 3G cellular networks, starting in December of this year.
According to The Verge, Amazon sent an email to customers on Wednesday, warning them about the change. I, an owner of an ancient Kindle Paperwhite, haven’t received the email — though that’s probably because I’m not based in the U.S. Amazon also has a help document up, detailing the shift.
Here’s what’s changing. The 1st and 2nd generation Kindle, as well as the 2nd generation Kindle DX — both of which don’t have Wi-Fi capability, only cellular — will not be able to connect to the internet at all once the 2G and 3G networks are discontinued. While that sounds pretty bad, you’ll still be able to enjoy the content you already have on the device, and you’ll be able to upload new content to it via the good old USB cable.
Kindle Keyboard (3rd generation), Kindle Touch (4th generation), Kindle Paperwhite (5th, 6th, and 7th generation), Kindle Voyage (7th generation), and Kindle Oasis (8th generation) will all lose cellular connectivity, but you’ll still be able to connect to the internet via Wi-Fi.
Other Kindle devices are not affected.
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There’s not much you can do to remedy this; upgrading your Kindle’s software won’t help, and the 2G and 3G networks are definitely going away, though each carrier has a different timeline for this. AT&T plans to fully phase out 2G and 3G by Feb. 22, 2022, T-Mobile will do it by April 2022, Sprint will do it in December 2022, and Verizon plans to do it by Dec. 31, 2022. It’s unclear why Amazon says Kindles will start losing internet access in December 2021 — perhaps the company knows more than we do.
In any case, Amazon is doing one thing to alleviate the issue. It’s offering those customers who are affected a $50 credit towards a new Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Oasis, as well as a $15 in-store credit for e-books.
While Amazon’s email focused on U.S. customers, Kindle owners around the globe will eventually run into the same issue — and some already have. For example, in the UK, Vodaphone plans to shut down its 3G network at the end of 2022, and Telenor already started the 3G shutdown process in Sweden (check out a fairly comprehensive list here).