Why I’ll Miss 3G on the Kindle

Losing the connection

Key Takeaways

  • Users of older Kindle readers will lose their 3G connectivity later this year. 
  • I’ll miss the 3G internet connection because it offers a direct line to Amazon’s vast selection of books. 
  • Self-contained, the Kindle becomes a magical book with seemingly never-ending pages.
A lineup of Kindles.

Wikimedia Commons

No man may be an island, but the 3G on my Kindle DX has kept me from information overload. I’m sad that Amazon announced recently that it’s doing away with the connection. 

Older Kindle models will start to lose their built-in internet access in December. The change comes because mobile carriers are ditching 3G networking technology in favor of newer 4G and 5G networks. Aging Kindles without Wi-Fi won’t be able to connect to the internet at all.

For many users, the loss of 3G won’t mean much. After all, the Kindle makes a terrible device for accessing the internet. With its sluggish processor and monochrome screen, the Kindle is designed for reading, not browsing. But the 3G internet connection offers a direct line to Amazon’s vast selection of books. 

"Using the built-in 3G internet on the Kindle is an entirely different experience from connecting via Wi-Fi."

Cutting the Cord

Don’t worry if you’ve bought a Kindle reading device recently. The newest Kindle devices with 4G will still work, but for older devices that shipped with support for 3G and Wi-Fi, including 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), only will be able to connect using Wi-Fi.

Amazon said you will still be able to view the content you already have downloaded on the older Kindles devices, but you won’t be able to download new books from the Kindle Store, except over Wi-Fi. 

Worse news comes for the most elderly of Kindles, including the Kindle (1st and 2nd generation) and the Kindle DX (2nd generation). These older models don’t have built-in Wi-Fi, so using the 2G or 3G internet connectivity was the only way to get online. However, you will still be able to load new content onto your device using a micro-USB cable. 

Big Kindle Blues

I’m sad about the loss of connectivity because I own the second-generation model of the Kindle DX, which I think is the best model that Amazon ever made. It’s got a relatively big, 9.7-inch screen that makes reading easier. Like other older Kindles, the DX has a built-in keyboard that offers a quirky, retro appeal. I also enjoy the solid feel and heft of the device, which some people might describe as bulky, but I prefer to think of as sturdy and reassuring. 

Using the built-in 3G internet on the Kindle is an entirely different experience from connecting via Wi-Fi. I bought a Kindle in the first place instead of using a tablet like an iPad to escape from the internet for a while and concentrate on reading. The best part was that once you paid for the slightly more expensive 3G Kindle model, you never needed to pay a monthly fee for a connection. 

For me, the appeal of the 3G internet was about being just connected enough, which I think is the key to happiness in our overburdened digital age. I was able to download nearly any title ever published using 3G directly to my Kindle without having to mess with a Wi-Fi connection.

Three generations of Kindles stacked on top of each other.

Wikimedia Commons

Self-contained, the Kindle becomes a magical book with seemingly never-ending pages. It’s a far calmer experience than buying books directly from Amazon’s website, where you are bombarded with ads and links to products you don’t need. 

When you don’t have to worry about a Wi-Fi connection, I’ve been able to lounge in remote locations and purchase novels. I went camping in the Adirondack Mountains of New York state last summer, and even though cell phone reception was poor, my Kindle DX was able to connect to Amazon’s 3G network and download books.

I had an even better experience a few years ago traveling in Europe. Since my DX is the international version, I could download books without Wi-Fi in a remote area of Spain. 

At least, Amazon is making gestures of condolences to some Kindle users left behind. The company is offering incentives to upgrade, including $70 off a new Kindle for 3G customers.

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