Earlier this week, American wireless carrier AT&T officially announced that it’s original 2G network was shut down on January 1st 2017. In a article from The Verge, they point out that the original iPhone will be unusable now as that relied on the 2G network from AT&T, making the device unusable for cellular communication, also there may be a lot of collectors and a small group of people who do still use the original iPhone day to day. In Europe and the UK the 2G network is still active, so owners of the first iPhone on this side of the pond will still be able to use it on the O2 network from Telefonica.
Despite the small amount of current users of the original iPhone, there have been no public complaints of the lack of signal from AT&T.
Why was the 2G network turned off?
Well older phones from the 2007 and earlier only supported 2G, although at the time of the iPhone’s announcement the 3G network was being developed and phones did support the newer and faster 3G networks. Only a year later Apple did add 3G support to the iPhone with the aptly named iPhone 3G in 2008. AT&T do say that in shutting down the 2G networks it frees up usable spectrum for other new projects, including 5G.