Verizon has announced it is delaying the shutdown of its 3G network indefinitely.
Verizon had previously committed to shutting down its network at the end of 2020, after postponing it from the original date at the end of 2019. According to Light Reading, the company has now delayed its plans indefinitely.
While the company did not give a reason for the decision, the most likely reason is because of the number of subscribers it still has on the aging technology.
Verizon’s competitors are also planning on shutting down their 3G networks, with AT&T slated to do so in early 2022. T-Mobile, meanwhile, has only said its shutdown would occur over the next several years, but has not divulged a timeline.
Wireless carriers have quite a bit of incentive to repurpose the spectrum being used for their 3G networks. Verizon, in particular, uses 850 and 1900 MHz spectrum for its 3G network. The company has struggled with its nationwide 5G network, which uses low-band spectrum to provide widespread coverage. Because Verizon’s 700 MHz spectrum is tied up with its 4G LTE network, it has had to rely on Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) to use that spectrum for both 4G and 5G traffic. Freeing up spectrum would give Verizon more options, especially with its low-band 850 MHz.
Nonetheless, it looks like Verizon’s 3G customers have earned a reprieve for the time being.