Old Kindles will soon lose internet access, but Amazon is offering upgrade incentives

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2018) on a wooden surface
The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2018) (Image credit: Future)

If you’re in the US and have a first or second generation Kindle, or a second generation Kindle DX, then you’ll soon find your device without internet access – meaning you won’t be able to access the Kindle Store from the device to buy or download books, though of course you can still hook your Kindle up to a computer to transfer content.

Those who own a 3G-enabled Kindle Keyboard (3rd generation), Kindle Touch (4th generation), Kindle Paperwhite (5th generation, 6th generation or 7th generation), Kindle Voyage (7th generation), or Kindle Oasis (8th generation) meanwhile will still be able to access the internet over Wi-Fi, but not over 3G.

This change is out of Amazon’s hands, as it’s due to the mobile networks that Amazon uses to provide 3G connectivity shutting down their 3G and 2G services in the US.

AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon will all be doing this starting from December, in order to free up spectrum for 5G, so you might only have a few more months of mobile internet access left on your Kindle.

However, to soften the blow Amazon is providing a promotional code that’s valid until midnight PDT on August 15, offering $70 (around £50 / AU$95) off the cost of a new Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Oasis, along with $25 (roughly £18 / AU$35) of ebook credit.

If your Kindle is affected then you should have received an email from Amazon which will include a promotional code, but one of the ones being sent around is NEWKINDLE70 according to Goodereader.

The Amazon Kindle 2019 held in front of a cityscape

(Image credit: Future)

Analysis: get ready for other countries to follow

While the US is being affected by the 3G shut off first, we’d expect other countries to follow suit sooner or later. In the UK for example, BT (which owns EE) has said it will phase out 3G within the next two years, while Vodafone in 2019 said that it would do so in two to three years (so in theory it could do any time now if it’s sticking to that schedule).

Three and O2 are sure to be planning similar, as are mobile networks in other countries, because it only makes sense to.

3G connectivity is slow and dated, not to mention being two generations behind, so the spectrum being used for it could better be leveraged for 5G. And with 4G coverage being widespread in much of the world, you’re unlikely to feel the loss of 3G too often.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.