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Verizon's new 3G shutdown target: January 1, 2023

Verizon now expects to fully complete its 3G network shutdown in roughly two years. That's about three years later than the timeline the operator initially laid out.

A top Verizon executive told Mobile World Live this week that the operator expects to complete its 3G network shutdown by January 1, 2023. Verizon spokesperson Kevin King told Light Reading that's the "absolute last possible date" for the shutdown. He said the operator continues to work to move customers off its 3G network, and has been reallocating that spectrum for 5G and other technologies as it gets customers off 3G.

"We're actively moving folks off the network and decommissioning it as we go," he said.

Moving target

The 2023 date is the latest from Verizon.

In 2016, Verizon said it planned to shutter its 3G network on December 31, 2019. The carrier in July 2018 confirmed it stopped activating 3G phones. Verizon then reiterated its 3G shutdown plans to Light Reading at the beginning of 2019. But then, in July 2019, Verizon spokesperson Howie Waterman confirmed to Light Reading that the operator had delayed the shuttering of its 3G network from the end of 2019 to the end of 2020.

In January 2021, Verizon spokesperson Kevin King told Light Reading that "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."

However, King subsequently clarified to Light Reading that "the network is still going to be shut down. But we're working with customers to migrate them to 4G and want to make sure we continue to care for them." He said on January 5, 2021, that Verizon did not have a final "cut off date."

Now, though, it appears Verizon does: At the end of next year.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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