Network operators have a tendency to redefine common words and give them new meanings. “Unlimited” is not unlimited when it comes to data and “indefinitely” definitely has an end. To be fair, Verizon did leave the door wide open for when it will shut down its 3G network and now it is officially giving notice to the old technology’s remaining users. Big Red is finally shutting down its 3G CDMA network at the end of 2022, three years after its initial plan.
Verizon already made it known that it would be shutting down its 3G services in 2019 way back in 2016. It might have thought that it would earn brownie points for being early and pushing innovation but, instead, it received flak for cutting off customers too soon. It extended that deadline to 2020 but it finally said it didn’t have plans when it would push through with that shift.
Apparently, it only took two months for it to actually come up with a plan and is now announcing a December 31, 2022 deadline for anyone still on 3G-only devices. As far as smartphones go, those are pretty rare already anyway but some do still exist. Verizon itself no longer accepts phones for activation that are not capable of connecting to 4G LTE networks.
That said, 3G devices do still exist and Verizon promises to help the remaining 1% of its customers still on that network. Consumers have it easy since they only need to upgrade to a new phone, even the cheapest 4G entry-level phone would do. Business customers who have well-established systems around 3G devices, however, won’t be so lucky.
Verizon didn’t miss the opportunity to boast that its schedule is more customer-friendly than its competitors, shuttering its 3G CDMA network months after them. T-Mobile will shut down its own network on January 1, 2022, while AT&T will follow suit in February 2022.