It's time to upgrade — Verizon is shutting down its 3G network next year

Verizon logo
Verizon logo (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Verizon has set a date for the shut-down of its 3G CDMA network.
  • The carrier states that the network will be fully decommissioned at the end of 2022.
  • According to Verizon, only 1% of its customer base still relies on 3G.

Verizon is finally marking its transition into the new decade. The company has just announced the date that it plans to shut off its legacy 3G CDMA network after delaying it twice. The shutdown will happen on December 31st, 2022, which the company believes will give its customer ample time to switch to newer devices.

We worked for the past several years to help those who still have 3G devices transfer to devices capable of accessing the 4G LTE or 5G networks....As a result of those efforts, we can now report that more than 99% of our customers use the enhanced features of 4G LTE or 5G, with less than 1% still accessing the 3G network.

Shutting down older networks isn't unheard of, and it's something that all of the best 5G networks do to free up spectrum. Carriers then use this spectrum and refarm it to help boost the capacity of newer networks, in this case, 4G LTE and 5G. Verizon 5G has been largely dependent on mmWave technology, which achieves the fastest speeds but does not reach very far, so the company has recently relied on the lower-band spectrum to provide nationwide 5G to its customers. The company also uses Dynamic Spectrum Sharing to share spectrum from its 4G network to boost 5G, so the more available spectrum, the better.

Given that only 1% of Verizon's customer base is on 3G, that means nearly 2 million subscribers are still using older devices. Fortunately, newer devices are becoming much more affordable. Customers can choose from any of the best cheap Android phones like the Google Pixel 4a 5G, or even some of the best Android phones under $200, which should be compatible with Verizon's newer networks.

Verizon notes that the shutdown comes months after its competitors. T-Mobile and AT&T are both reportedly shutting down their 3G networks in early 2022.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.