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Verizon confirms that it will no longer activate 3G phones

By Cal Jeffrey · 14 replies
Jul 17, 2018
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  1. Verizon is tolling the death knell for 3G phones. You don't have to bring out your dead just yet, but the service provider has confirmed that it will stop activating phones that do not support the 4G LTA standard.

    The company had not officially announced the phasing out of the 3G phones, but rumors began to circulate when several customers reported to Droid Life that they had been denied activation because they’re phones were not 4G-enabled. Verizon hinted at the depreciation when it stopped selling 3G phones and started pushing its LTE-only handsets a year ago (via Engadget).

    When approached for comment, Verizon issued the following statement:

    "For several years we’ve been publicly saying that our 3G CDMA network will remain available through the end of 2019. Virtually all traffic on our network is on our 4G LTE network. To facilitate a smooth transition to 4G LTE capable products and services, we are no longer allowing devices that are not 4G LTE capable of being activated on our network."

    The move makes a lot of sense considering that most carriers are already at work building 5G networks. Furthermore, Verizon’s refusal to activate older 3G-only devices is only going to affect a minimal number of users. Most customers already have 4G phones, and all newer phones on the market support the standard. Therefore, only those holding on to older 3G handsets will be turned down.

    For now, it is still business as usual for the handful of 3G Verizon customers still out there. However, they will want to be thinking about a new phone for when Verizon decommissions its 3G network at the end of 2019.

    Permalink to story.

  2. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 3,050   +1,384

    Sucks for all of the people who like their niche older phones, like the blackberrys and the xperia play phone and pretty much any phone with a small screen except the iphone SE. Completely understandable, just also sucks.
    Digitalzone and psycros like this.
  3. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,712   +2,509

    It wouldn't be an issue if Blackberry would design a modern phone that doesn't throw away most of made Blackberry great. For some reason they just don't seem to understand that the keyboard was only half the equation: the other half was the superior user experience which emphasized speed and power over cumbersome UI elements and stupid gimmicks.
  4. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,891   +2,217

    I miss my blackberry
  5. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 768   +293

    Does that mean we'll have an improved 4G signal? At&t shutdown 2G last year. I would have expected the band would have been re-purposed for 4G. So far...zilch improved service. Maybe we need new phones to use it that way. Why does 5G need new antennas when you can re-purpose older cell bands with newer software. Or am I misunderstanding the technology?
  6. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,995   +3,481

    It doesn't work like that. 4G is a completely different frequency than 3G, you can't just add them together. Ditto goes for 5G as well. 5G is very short range and will require entirely new towers or mini-towers. Current 4G towers are completely unsuitable for 5G as they are built too far apart for anyone to get good signal outside nor do they mitigate 5G's critical weakness of very poor penetration. There are other factors in the way as well but I think you get the point.

    Maintaining 3G equipment at this point is just additional cost overhead.
  7. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 768   +293

    At&t did say in an article that they plan to re-purpose the 2G frequency range. I'm curious as to how that's going to work. Does band frequency and data speed go hand in hand, or does it even matter? I've seen charts that says 3G and 4G can run off of the 900mhz band. Which leads me to believe that no it does not matter.
  8. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,995   +3,481

    I don't see the point in doing that. The maximum speed of 2G was 500 kbps but most of time you got 14.4 kbps.

    "Does band frequency and data speed go hand in hand, or does it even matter?"

    Yes frequency means everything. Frequencies used by 5G and 4G have less range and penetration but are more densely clustered to provide much more data.

    2G and 3G towers are not designed for high bandwidth output nor could they provide that data over their designed service area.


    Re-purposing 2g or 3g cell towers to serve as part of their more data intensive network would only serve to the detriment of customers in more rural area who rely on more far reaching frequency bands used in 2g and 3g.

    4G resides on a higher frequency band


    although it can be used on lower bands as well because 3G and 4G are protocols.
  9. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 768   +293

    Seems like to me is that 4G is basically a better compression and software protocol. WiFi for example started with 11 Mbits/s over 2.4 GHz and managed 54 Mbits/s over the same spectrum with just software improvement. I guess the main difference is wideband vs narrowband and WiFi doesn't require the wattage that cell towers need. Nor does it have to travel far, potentially losing bits of information. Going the longer distances and less capacity, hi-speed, though possible, would probably lend to a subscriber hogging the bandwidth, as narrow as it is.

    So I'm guessing that even though 4G can work on the narrowband 900mhz, it won't have the capacity and would be inefficient. This would explain why radio and television could broadcast on those spectrums one way, but didn't have to contend with servicing connections.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2018
  10. TheMedi8or

    TheMedi8or TS Rookie

    I live in Maine, where cell service in the norther part of the state is already non-existent. With most carriers you can't even get service - until a few years ago that included Verizon. 4G is a joke and 5G is non existent. So how do we benefit? Higher phone bills, same lousy service. I, for one, will NOT be transitioning, I will just stop carrying a cell phone.
  11. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,883   +1,530

    Everyone should read-up on 5G wireless https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5G

    Due to the frequencies involved, a 5G cell tower will be needed in every city block and thus is unsuitable for rural deployment.
  12. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 768   +293

    I fail to see how they plan to offer phone service in areas that aren't suitable for anything below 4G LTE unless they plan on building more towers in rural areas, or they plan to just cut off rural residents after 2019.
  13. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 768   +293

  14. TheMedi8or

    TheMedi8or TS Rookie

  15. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 768   +293

    In the article itself, it referenced 3G. I don't know why it says 2G in the headline. Typo, I guess.

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