Verizon will decommission its 3G CDMA network on December 31 of next year. The carrier says that the final shutdown will end a process of transitioning to newer technology that began in 2016. That transition already has been undertaken by 99% of the carrier’s customers.
Initially, the network was to be decommissioned in 2019. The date was extended twice—until the end of last year and now until the end of 2022.
Verizon says that it is no longer possible to activate devices that are not 4G LTE- or 5G-capable. The company now is focused on migrating the few devices that remain 3G-only to the newer networks and helping businesses ensure that devices in equipment and vehicles are not 3G-only.
A Verizon blog post says that 3G service could degrade as the turnoff date gets closer and that the carrier will offer only “extremely limited” troubleshooting on the old devices.
“We worked for the past several years to help those who still have 3G devices transfer to devices capable of accessing the 4G LTE or 5G networks and continue to actively work with remaining 3G customers to migrate them to new devices and technology,” according to the blog post about the Verizon 3G decommission plans. “As a result of those efforts, we can now report that more than 99% of our customers are using the enhanced features of 4G LTE or 5G, with less than 1% still accessing the 3G network.”
The post offers a bit of finality. “The date will not be extended again.”
A 3G sunset has other implications for end customers. In February we reported on MoffettNathanson research that noted that the majority of Dish’s Boost Mobile customers are still using 3G devices. Researchers said that T-Mobile had informed Dish that it plans to decommission the 3G CDMA network that supports Boost Mobile later this year or early in 2022.