The big picture: As cellular services begin transitioning to newer and faster technologies, what happens to the old tech? It gets phased out, that's what. Old-timers who are still clinging to their cumbersome 3G devices will have to make a transition soon. For Verizon, that deadline is December 31, 2019.
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.