Verizon has announced it's finally shutting down its 3G network after a number of years of putting its plans on hold. Don't worry though: if you're still using a 3G-only phone, the closure won't take effect until December 31st 2022 so you have plenty of time to upgrade your handset.
The news comes after many tentative plans by the firm. Back in 2012, Verizon Wireless announced that it would retire its 3G network by 2021 before revising that plan to be even more ambitious with an end-date of 2019. Obviously, that didn't happen with the network continuing. Interestingly, as recently as January 2021, it looked like 3G was going to stick around for much longer, with an announcement stating that the cell phone provider was placing its closure plans on hold indefinitely. But it looks that reprieve was very short-lived with plans going ahead that the official shutdown date for Verizon's 3G network will be December 31st 2022 and a confirmation that 'the date will not be extended again'.
So, what does that mean for you? Hopefully, not much. The move won't affect anyone who has activated a phone with Verizon in the past few years thanks to the firm having stopped activating 3G-only phones in 2018 in preparation for the switch off. That means the vast majority of users should be well-covered with superior alternatives in the form of 4G or 5G and far speedier handsets than anything solely 3G-enabled. Verizon is also the last major US carrier to take its 3G network offline as AT&T is planning on closing its network in February 2022 while T-Mobile has a target of January 1st 2022.
Time to upgrade ahead of Verizon's 3G switch off?
If you're still using a 3G device then this would be a very good time to upgrade to something a little more modern. Check out our best smartphones guide to find out more about what's good for you and expect to enjoy the substantial benefits that the enhanced speed and reliability 4G and 5G bring. If you're a Verizon customer, you're in good hands anyway as the company has topped our best cell phone provider list for a while now.
Still, with 3G being such a monumental shift for actually making mobile web browsing fast and reliable (unlike the sometimes flakey nature of 2G), we can't help but be a little sad to see it go. It's changed a lot for the cell phone landscape so maybe raise a glass (or an old 3G phone) in its honor.