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The new Nokia 3310… it only sort of works on U.S. Networks

Nokia 3310 (2017)Nokia recently announced the return of their classic mobile handset from the early 2000s the 3310. The marketing wizards at Nokia have pitched this as an excellent solution for a GSM travel phone due to its compact size, and extended battery. Plus you can use it to play snake!!! There is one problem, it barely works on modern cellular networks. For some reason, Nokia chose to make the radio inside the phone just as nostalgic as the styling on the outside. The phone lacks a 4G radio let alone and LTE radio which has been standard on most Android and iOS smartphones sold in the last seven years. As a result of these shortcomings, the new Nokia 3310 has been met with some savage reviews online.

What does this mean in layman’s terms? To quote a representative from the US carrier T-Mobile, “it’ll work but may not work consistently nor will it work for a very long-term usage.” One of the critical issues is that handset doesn’t support LTE and US carriers are moving everything as fast as humanly possible to LTE. So while you may be in an area that has 3G or 2G coverage, it may just be for data, and there may not be a voice bearer channel. It’s all going to depend on where you are and how the towers are configured in that area.

US GSM networks are some of the most advanced in the world. To avoid any problems, we suggest that you leave your older phones at home (including new throwback phones with old guts), and bring the latest model unlocked GSM smartphone you can find. In addition to working with all the bells and whistles of 4G LTE networks you’ll have full access to Google Maps, WhatsApp and a really great camera for all the snapshots you’ll no doubt want to take on your Holiday.

If you want nostalgia from the turn of the turn of the millennium, you could always rewatch Chicken Run on Netflix again or add Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out” to your Spotify playlist. As for playing Snake, don’t worry there are literally hundreds ok retro gaming apps on the Apple App Store and on Google Play.  Better yet you can play snake in the window below until the urge to buy a nostalgia phone goes away.

Comments (4)

So if I have a nokia 3310 running on t monile. When I travel to mexico next month it may or may not get service.

Good question! The four carriers in Mexico are different companies than US carriers. Even though you may have a T-Mobile plan that includes roaming in parts of Mexico you will be using a different network with a different infrastructure. Here is a link that may answer some of those questions,

It’s been 8 months since this article was written — yet this seems to be the most recent article I can find on how the Nokia 3310 works in the U.S. I’ve ditched my iPhone, need a smart phone detox, and I’m considering getting the Nokia 3310. But I do at least want the phone calling function to work properly. Does anyone know if functionality has improved since the writing of this story? If not, I’d love a recommendation for a “dumb” phone in the U.S., but one that WORKS. Thanks!!

I would not even consider buying a phone that is not on T-Mobile’s device list. For pretty much any use, you need a phone that connects to 4G LTE bands. 2G is practically unusable in the US now an will be gone entirely by 2020. T-Mobile has by far the better network in North America and they use primarily bands 2,4, 12. Right now I only know of one dumb handset that fits that bill and the reviews aren’t exactly stellar.

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