By Diana Goovaerts
Verizon finalized plans to shut down its 3G CDMA network after multiple delays, stating it will officially pull the plug on December 31, 2022.
The operator stopped activating 3G CDMA devices on its network in 2018, preparing for an original target shutdown date at the end of 2019. However, media reports indicated the operator subsequently extended that timeline, first to end-2020 and then to end-2022.
In a blog, Verizon VP of Network Engineering Mike Haberman attributed the delays to efforts to “minimize disruptions” to customers as they migrated to “newer and more advanced technologies.”
He stated less than 1 per cent of its customers were still accessing its 3G network, adding the operator’s shutdown deadline “will not be extended again.”
As of the end of Q4 2020, Verizon had 120.9 million retail wireless subscribers.
“The focus now is the smooth migration of the remaining 3G devices in the market onto 4G LTE or 5G capable products and services,” he wrote. “Additionally, we’ve already developed migration plans with most of our business customers to ensure any 3G devices they have in vehicles and equipment have been migrated to 4G LTE or 5G technology as soon as possible.”
Last year, rival AT&T revealed plans to phase out its 3G network by February 2022, and in January of this year stopped activating devices without support for its HD Voice service in preparation for the move.
T-Mobile US recently caused a stir when it announced plans to implement its own 3G shutdown in January 2022, with MVNO partner Dish Network warning this could cause major disruptions for its more than 9 million Boost Mobile customers.
Boost Mobile chief Stephen Stokols told Fierce earlier this month it will cost Dish “hundreds of millions of dollars” to transition customers to new handsets by that date.