Verizon will switch off its 3G network next year

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US network Verizon says it has abandoned plans to switch off its 3G network by the end of 2020 and has not confirmed a new date for the end of service.

The US operator had already delayed plans to pull the plug at the end of 2019 in order to give affected customers an opportunity to make plans to move to a more modern handset.

Verizon has already stopped activating new 3G devices, but it appears as though the migration has not been as fast as had been hoped.

Verizon 3G

“Our 3G network is operational and we don't have a plan to shut it down at this time. We'll work with customers to move them to newer technology,” a spokesperson is quoted as saying.

It is unclear when Verizon will turn off its 3G infrastructure, but it will want to do so as soon as possible.

Mobile operators have used 3G networks alongside their 4G services in order to provide additional coverage in areas where 4G is not available. However, as 4G has become increasingly available, the need for 3G and its inferior speeds and capacity is significantly reduced.

Most mobile data in developed markets is transmitted via 4G, while Voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology means such networks can also handle the majority of calls.

Switching off 3G would allow operators to reuse valuable spectrum for 4G and 5G networks which are more complementary technologies. 2G networks are expected to outlast 3G because of wide coverage and comparatively lower power requirements that make it an ideal standard for mass IoT deployments that require long battery life and minimal bandwidth.

In the UK both Vodafone and EE have indicated they hope to switch off their 3G services within the next few years.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.