Amazon’s older Kindle devices in the U.S. will lose cellular connectivity this year.
It’s not Amazon’s fault, since U.S. carriers are phasing out 2G and 3G networks starting in December.
Apparently, according to The Verge, Amazon sent an email to customers on Wednesday, warning them about the change. I, an ancient Kindle Paperwhite owner, haven’t noticed the email — though that’s probably because I’m not situated in the U.S. Amazon also has a help document up explaining the change.
Here’s what’s changing. The 1st and 2nd generation Kindle and the 2nd generation Kindle DX do not have Wi-Fi capability, so they will not be able to connect to the internet once the 2G and 3G networks are discontinued. Despite that, you will still be able to enjoy the content you already have on the device, and you will be able to add new content via the old USB cable.
All 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 lose cellular connectivity. However, you’ll still be able to connect to the internet via Wi-Fi.
Other Kindle devices are not affected.
Upgrades to the Kindle’s software won’t help, and 2G and 3G networks will eventually disappear, though each carrier has its own timeline for doing so. By 2022, AT&T plans to completely phase out 2G and 3G, T-Mobile will do it by April 2022, Sprint will do it in December 2022, and Verizon will do it by December 31st. It’s unclear why Amazon says Kindles will lose Internet access in December 2021 – maybe the company knows more than we do.
Amazon is doing one thing to alleviate the problem. You’ll receive a $50 credit toward a new Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Oasis, as well as a $15 in-store credit for e-books.
While Amazon’s mail 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 U.K., Vodafone will shut down its 3G network at the end of 2022, and Telenor has already begun shutting down its 3G network in Sweden (check out a fairly comprehensive list here).