The 3G shutdown delay is indefinite at this time, says Verizon

After sharing its plans to shutter its 3G network at the end of 2020 with Light Reading, Verizon has now revealed that it has paused the shutdown. While the end of 2022 is being floated as the new potential shutdown date, it appears that this is mostly just a place holder as the delay is being considered indefinite at this time.

Verizon spokesperson Kevin King told Light Reading that the carrier’s 3G network is “operational” at this time, and that there are no plans to shut it down.

“We’ll work with customers to move them to newer technology,” King added.

Despite the 3G network remaining up and running, Verizon is only making the service available to users with an existing 3G device. In other words, customers cannot activate a new 3G phone. That has been the case since 2018, however, and doesn’t represent a new change.

The uncertainty around the 3G shutdown isn’t entirely new either. In fact, at one point, Verizon had slotted the shutdown for the end of 2019 but delayed it at that point as well — likely reflecting some customers’ refusal to give up 3G devices and the carrier’s unwillingness to cut them off completely, even as Verizon has been busy hyping up the capabilities — and in some cases, exaggerating the reach of — its 5G network.

Other major U.S. carriers are also looking into getting its customers set up with newer technology. AT&T informed its customers that it plans for its 3G network to go dark in February 2022. Users received an email stating that their older phones are “not compatible with the new network.” Additionally, T-Mobile is reportedly playing around with the idea of making voice over LTE (VoLTE) a requirement for phones on its network this year.