As technology marches on, the age of 3G is coming to an end. Replaced by more powerful 4G and 5G, the usefulness of 3G is not what it once was. Combined with a plan from the UK government to power off 2G and 3G networks by 2033, we’re officially in the last decade that older 3G smartphones will maintain online functionality. Of course, just because 3G phones are old in no way means they’re useless.

Thanks to mobile and website developers optimising their systems, it’s quite possible that 3G phones will remain useful right up until network shutdown, battery life permitting. So, what can you expect from old systems, why should you keep one around, and what can you do to extend an older smartphone’s lifespan?

vodafone 3g usb dongle

Image credit

What’s Possible

In essence, any low-demand web browsing and interactive systems should remain viable on 3G platforms for a long time to come. Some of these opportunities can still be cutting edge too, as demonstrated by games like bingo online at Paddy Power. The games here like the Crystal and Gold Rooms are designed to have modern-looking graphics and play well, but they also require very little data and processing power. Include the browsing necessary for the website, and systems like this illustrate a way to use older mobiles that will persist at least well into the 20s. In other words, if your phone can accept HTML 5, you should be in the green.

Why Keep an Older Phone?

There are two main reasons to keep an older phone around. The first is as a backup, to use in an emergency kit or if your first one breaks because of an accident. As long as it has the same SIM slot, you can switch systems without issue by following guides like this one at Asurion. Online functionality can also be found at many free Wi-Fi locations, even if your original SIM is lost. The second reason is to hold off creating additional electronic waste until absolutely necessary, which is a growing problem across the globe. You could also just keep another phone around as a browsing or gaming device to play at home or on the go.

Keeping a Phone Alive

Electronics age, and while some aspects of ageing are inevitable, others can be fought off with the right approach. For a start, older phones not in use should be kept in a clean, cool, and dry place, alongside the charger if it came with one. Any moisture can rust internal components, and high temperatures can cause problems with the circuits over time. If you’re using the phone, just be sure to keep it clean.

From here, you need to consider the battery. The battery is almost always going to be the weak point of an older phone, and as USA Today explains, there’s a lot of misunderstanding about how batteries work. For the best approach, you’ll want to turn on a battery saver mode if the phone has one, charge it to around 80%, and never let it reach zero. If possible, it can also be useful to take the battery off and clean the contacts with rubbing alcohol.

Iphone 3G

Image credit

Take these simple steps, and you’ll have a system that you can rely on up until 3G networks die out. Even then, you might still be able to enjoy experiences like online bingo games, but you probably need to keep the system plugged into the power at this point. Make no mistake, while tech has made great strides, the older systems can still hold up. Like how often you see computers still running Windows XP, don’t underestimate what older mobile phones can do.