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Analog cell phones about to lose service
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Beginning Monday, cellular telephone companies will not be required to provide analog service. While most wireless telephone users will not be affected by this transition (often called the “analog cellular sunset”), some users may be affected. In addition, the transition could affect some alarm systems and some users of OnStar in-vehicle communications service. OnStar discontinued offering its analog service, found in older cars, on Dec. 31.

Wireless Telephone Service
The analog cellular sunset will not affect anyone using a digital-only handset (including subscribers to wireless service from Sprint/Nextel or T-Mobile).  

It might affect those using a handset that can receive analog service from a cellular telephone company, including AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Alltel, US Cellular, and Dobson (and other companies that market their services as “Cellular One”).  Companies must notify their analog customers prior to discontinuing analog service.

There are several ways to tell if a handset is digital or analog. If it has advanced features such as text or instant messaging, Internet browsing, an MP3 player,or an integrated camera, it is digital. If it uses a SIM card (a small, removable card that can be found under the phone’s battery), it is digital. Some wireless phones display an icon indicating that they have digital capabilities.

Many wireless telephone companies have helpful information about their analog-to-digital transition plans on their Web sites.  

To determine how roaming service may be affected by the transition, customers should contact their wireless telephone company directly and inquire whether any of its roaming partners will discontinue their analog service after Monday.

Alarm Systems
The analog cellular sunset may affect services relying on analog cellular radio equipment, such as alarm systems with wireless analog radio links.  

The majority of alarm systems installed in homes and businesses do not use a wireless radio signal to connect to a central monitoring station. Some alarm systems, however, use analog radio equipment and send a wireless signal — provided by a wireless telephone company — using the 800 MHz spectrum. These systems are affected by the transition.

According to the alarm industry, out of a total 26 million installed alarm systems, there are approximately one million systems that use analog radio equipment. Wireless alarm systems installed before spring 2006 generally used analog equipment. Alarm companies are in the process of contacting their customers to arrange for replacement installation of a digital alarm radio.

Consumers who believe their alarm system relies on an analog wireless radio and haven’t been contacted by their alarm company, or consumers who are unsure about what type of alarm system they have, should contact their alarm company to determine their options for maintaining service.

Analog OnStar service was terminated on Dec. 31. Information regarding OnStar service and the analog cellular sunset can be found on the OnStar Web site at Vehicles equipped with analog-only OnStar equipment cannot be upgraded and no longer receive OnStar service.

OnStar subscribers with vehicles equipped with dual mode (digital and analog) OnStar equipment will continue to receive service. OnStar subscribers with vehicles equipped with analog/digital-ready equipped vehicles must be upgraded in order to receive service.

Consumers with questions about their OnStar service should contact OnStar toll-free at 1-866-579-7726 (have your OnStar account number or your vehicle identification number available), or visit OnStar’s Web site at