Verizon will no longer activate smartphones that only support 3G cellular networks, the company announced this week.
Essentially, that means you won’t be able to activate your 3G-only iPhone or Android device moving forward. The carrier is now only going to accept devices that are capable of using 4G LTE networks.
“For several years we’ve been publicly saying that our 3G CDMA network will remain available through the end of 2019,” a Verizon spokesperson toldCNET. “Virtually all traffic on our network is on our 4G LTE network.”
“To facilitate a smooth transition to 4G LTE capable products and service, we are no longer allowing devices that are not 4G LTE capable with VoLTE to be activated on our networks,” the statement continued.
For iPhone owners, that means you’ll only be able to activate iPhone 5 devices and later.
While the naming scheme is confusing, the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s are not 4G LTE capable devices — they only support 3G networks.
Earlier this year, Verizon was rumored to be ending 3G activations by June or July. A few sources told Droid Life in the last couple weeks that their 3G-only phones were turned down by the carrier.
More than that, Verizon seems to be committed to ending its 3G CDMA network by the end of 2019. Because of that, refusing to activate 3G smartphones is probably the right move.
The company stopped selling 3G devices a few years ago. Even its most basic flip phone offerings have been switched over to 4G LTE-equipped handsets.
An earlier report also suggested that Verizon would stop activating older 4G LTE phones — including handsets that do not support HD Voice or VoLTE. Currently, those devices are still compatible with Verizon’s network, but there’s no clear indication of how long that will be the case.
Most major carriers in the U.S. are currently in the process of switching to lightning-fast 5G cellular networks, which could arrive for the mass market sometime in 2019 or 2020. In the meantime, it seems that the industry network standard will be 4G LTE, at least for a few more years.