Amazon’s Kindle e-readers with built-in 3G will begin to lose the ability to connect to the internet on their own in the US in December, according to an email sent to customers on Wednesday. The change is due to mobile carriers transitioning from older 2G and 3G networking technology to newer 4G and 5G networks. For older Kindles without Wi-Fi, this change could mean not connecting to the internet at all.
As Good e-Reader first noted in June, newer Kindle devices with 4G support should be fine, but for older devices that shipped with support for 3G and Wi-Fi like the Kindle Keyboard (3rd generation), Kindle Touch (4th generation), Kindle Paperwhite (4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th generation), Kindle Voyage (7th generation), and Kindle Oasis (8th generation), users will be stuck with Wi-Fi only. In its email announcement, Amazon stresses that you can still enjoy the content you already own and have downloaded on these devices, you just won’t be able to download new books from the Kindle Store unless you’re doing it over Wi-Fi. You can see Amazon’s email to customers below:
Things get more complicated for Amazon’s older Kindles, like the Kindle (1st and 2nd generation), and the Kindle DX (2nd generation). Since those devices relied solely on 2G or 3G internet connectivity, once the networks are shut down, the only way to get new content onto your device will be through an old-fashioned micro-USB cable.
The issue is out of Amazon’s hands
In an email to The Verge, Amazon says it has a few different options for active customers with impacted devices, outside of the company’s usual trade-in options. According to Amazon, if your eligible, meaning you’ve read on one of these older Kindles between January 1st and June 30th, 2021, you should be contacted about the following credits and offers (check your email for a promo code):
For customers with Kindle (1st Generation), Amazon is offering a free Kindle Oasis (10th Generation) device and cover.
Customers with Kindle (1st and 2nd Generation), Kindle DX (2nd Generation), and Kindle Keyboard (3rd Generation) can receive $70 off a new Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Oasis, plus $25 in ebook credits.
Customers with Kindle Touch (4th Generation), Kindle Paperwhite (5th Generation, 6th Generation, and 7th Generation), Kindle Voyage (7th Generation), and Kindle Oasis (8th Generation) can receive $50 off a new Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Oasis, plus $15 in ebook credits.
While in an ideal world, Amazon would replace every device left without internet connectivity, this issue is largely out of Amazon’s hands. The carriers have all committed to different time frames for when older 2G and 3G networks will go kaput, with AT&T setting the date for February 22nd, 2022, T-Mobile reportedly targeting April 2022, and Verizon shooting for December 31st, 2022.
Taking those into account, Amazon’s December date seems premature, but better to be prepared now, than left with a less useful e-reader later this year.
Update July, 29th 12:37PM ET: Added additional Amazon offers for customers with impacted Kindles.
Update July, 31st 12:00PM ET: Added Amazon’s eligibility window for qualifying for Kindle offers.