3G, which has been the primary driver of voice communication for decades, will cease to operate on July 31, 2024. While 3G users constitute a small proportion of the overall user base, they are not the only ones affected by this shutdown.

Despite the existence of 4G for several years, early batches of 4G phones did not support Voice over LTE (VoLTE). These older 4G phones could have been manufactured as early as 2010.

The second wave of 4G phones began around 2014. Manufacturers and telecommunications companies began enabling VoLTE and promoting HD voice calls as a value-added service. VoLTE was typically enabled on selected high-end models sold through telecom operators.

The introduction of SIM Only plans led more users to purchase phones online, complicating matters. Many of these phones have VoLTE capability, but it may be locked in the firmware.

While most telecom operators have started enabling VoLTE for free or as a value-added service, manufacturers often enable it only for markets where their products are sold. This has created compatibility issues, especially for users with older phones, which may require updating firmware or toggling VoLTE settings. Such phones could be retail models or parallel imports. There is a high likelihood that these phones will be unable to make calls after the complete shutdown of the 3G network on July 31.

It’s important to note that while your handset’s VoLTE may work with one telecom operator, it may not be compatible with another. All telecom operators maintain a list of VoLTE-supported devices tested for voice calls. If you haven’t already, ensure VoLTE is activated on your handset to prevent calls from dropping to 3G or H+ networks when making voice calls.