Verizon does not plan to shut down its 3G network in the near future, a Verizon spokesperson told Light Reading this week (via The Verge). “Our 3G network is operational and we don’t have a plan to shut it down at this time,” said the spokesperson, who also added that Verizon will “work with customers to move them to newer technology.”
Verizon’s decision to leave its 3G network functional is a deviation from plans that have been in the works for years. In 2012 after launching 4G technology, Verizon said that it would eventually discontinue 3G service.
In 2016, Verizon said that it would shut down its 3G network on December 31, 2019, and it stopped activating 3G phones in July 2018. Though promising to end 3G connectivity in 2019, Verizon ultimately delayed until the end of 2020 to give impacted customers more time to figure out their plans, but now it seems Verizon will continue to make its 3G network available alongside its 4G and 5G networks.
It’s not clear why Verizon has opted not to shut down its 3G network, but Light Reading speculates that it could still have a significant number of customers using the 3G technology. Many Internet of Things devices rely on 3G connectivity, such as in-car connected safety features.
Verizon competitor AT&T plans to shut down its 3G network in early 2022 to bring customers “faster speeds and new features.” T-Mobile told Light Reading that it plans to shut down 3G over the “next several years” but timing has not yet been shared. T-Mobile will, however, begin requiring phones on its network to support VoLTE by January 31, 2021, which will make some devices incompatible with the T-Mobile network going forward.
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