Amazon has emailed American customers it knows to have older Kindles with 3G connectivity, warning them that their devices will lose the ability to connect to the internet starting this December.
This isn’t Amazon’s choice, of course. It’s a consequence of American networks moving from 3G to 4G and 5G connectivity. That’s something that will eventually come to the UK as well, but with a less clearly defined timeline at the time of writing.
As the Kindle product line has been going so long, this will impact a lot of devices. Most, from 2010’s third-generation Kindle Keyboard to the 2017 Kindle Oasis, won’t become completely useless, as they will still be able to connect to WiFi for library expansion.
Some, however, only have 3G. First- and second-generation Kindle and Kindle DX devices will lose their ability to connect to the internet completely, making it impossible to add more books. Or, as Amazon puts it in an email shared by The Verge: “customers who own these devices will still be able to enjoy previously downloaded content on their Kindle, but they will no longer be able to access or download new content wirelessly.”
The company may be acting a little prematurely, however. Although the end is indeed coming for 3G in America, different carriers have their own timeframes for it, with AT&T set to call time on February 22 2022, but T-Mobile and Verizon aiming for later in the year. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
For British owners, this is more of a look into the future, though if you do have an American trip booked in for next year and have an older Kindle, you may want to stock up on ebooks before you go.
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Hopefully UK Kindle owners will get a similar offer once the British networks have a clearer timeline for 3G’s wind down. So far, only BT has shown its hand, saying that 3G will disappear for EE, Plusnet and BT Mobile customers by 2023, with 2G to follow later in the decade.