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Verizon is pausing its 3G shutdown indefinitely

Verizon is pausing its 3G shutdown indefinitely


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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Verizon is indefinitely delaying the shutdown of its 3G network, pushing back the original plan for the network to shutter at the end of 2020 to an as-yet-undetermined point in the future.

The news comes from Verizon spokesperson Kevin King, who tells Light Reading, “Our 3G network is operational and we don’t have a plan to shut it down at this time. We’ll work with customers to move them to newer technology.”

According to Light Reading, Verizon previously announced that it planned to shutter the 3G network at the end of 2020, which was already a delay. (The company originally intended to close the network at the end of 2019.) Now, it seems that Verizon is once again punting that decision down the road.

The interesting part of this decision is that Verizon is making it solely for customers who are still using their existing 3G devices. The company no longer allows customers to activate new 3G phones on its network (as of 2018), nor does it offer prepaid 3G service (as of 2019). Obviously, Verizon would prefer that its customers upgrade to new 4G LTE — or, at this point, 5G — plans (presumably with new phones that they’ll buy through the carrier). But the repeated delays in shutting down the 3G network seem to suggest that the transition isn’t going as fast as the company would like.

Verizon isn’t the only network working to move customers off of its legacy 3G network. AT&T recently advised its customers using 3G phones that it plans to shut down its 3G network sometime in early 2022, while T-Mobile is reportedly looking to make voice over LTE (VoLTE) a requirement early this year.