February 28, 2021
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Verizon will keep its 3G network running for now, as planned shutdown is pushed off


Angela Lang/CNET

Verizon’s 3G network will continue to hang around, despite previous plans to shut down the service over the past few years. 

In a statement given to Light Reading, Verizon spokesman Kevin King said the company is keeping the older wireless network running with no exact timeline for when the company will shut down the service. 

While there is no exact shutoff date, King tells CNET that Verizon is “actively working with customers” to get them onto one of its more recent networks. He adds that there are some contracts for the carrier’s connected devices that still need to be honored while Verizon is also making sure that those still with 3G phones are “not left high-and-dry.” 

“As soon as we are able to move people off we will be able to decommission the network,” King says.  

The move marks a departure from previous Verizon statements, including one in 2016 in which it announced plans to shut off the 3G service at the end of 2019. 

Verizon reiterated the planned 2019 3G network sunset in 2018 when it announced that it would no longer be activating phones that could only connect to 3G networks. In July 2019, however, the company told Light Reading that it would push off the discontinuation of the 3G network until the end of 2020. 

By keeping its 3G network active, Verizon will continue to have three generations of networks operational: 3G, 4G LTE and its new 5G service. It is not immediately clear how many phones, or other 3G-connected devices such as ATMs, are still using the 3G network, but the number seems to be large enough for Verizon to delay the shutdown yet again. 

Verizon is not the only carrier keeping 3G around for a little longer. AT&T previously announced that its 3G network will remain online until next February, while T-Mobile told Light Reading that it would turn off its 3G network “over the next several years,” though it did not provide an exact timeline. 

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