Verizon delays 3G shutdown again, like for two years

Verizon continues to back away from its plans to shutter its antiquated 3G service. An article at Mobile World Live claims the end of the shutdown will now be January 1, 2023. This essentially takes Verizon from being the first company to shut its 3G network to the last. For a bit of the background, check out this article from last month.

Reading between the lines

While I tend to be much more enthusiastic about AT&T than Verizon, I’ll actually give them some credit here. Shuttering their 3G network at a time when people need their phones more than ever… that’s not smart. And it’s pretty likely that there are a lot of old phones out there. Sure, people have lapped up the 5G offerings from Samsung and Apple, but Verizon probably supports over 70 million 3G phones. That’s not even counting the millions who pay another company for service but are actually using Verizon’s network.

If you read between the lines, what’s really being said is that Verizon is slowly phasing out 3G, instead of turning it off all at once. This means they will probably roll back 3G from rural or overserved areas first. I’m talking about areas where the towers aren’t used much anyway. Then, as people give up their 3G phones, they’ll slowly cut off 3G in other areas over the next two years or so.

The writing is still on the wall…

…you just have a little bit longer to read it. And that’s not a bad thing for anyone. You have to assume that (for now) the cost of keeping its 3G network alive is less than the cost of giving away lots of phones just to keep people subscribed. Verizon isn’t suffering either way, I’m guessing.

Still, if you’re rocking a flip phone or original iPhone 3G, it’s time to make that change now rather than later. 3G service may still work in your hometown, and that may be true for months or years to come. But expect that 3G service won’t be there in the areas where you need it most. And, because of the weird technological landscape we have here, you won’t even be able to roam on another network.

Because, remember why you got a cell phone in the first place? You told everyone it was just for emergencies and you were going to keep it in the glove box for when you needed it. Yeah, we all know it didn’t work out that way. Let’s be honest though… a cell phone is still really important for emergencies and it doesn’t look like a 3G Verizon phone will do it.

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About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 9,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.