Verizon sets a new 3G network shutdown date, but you should really upgrade to 5G earlier

Verizon sets a new 3G network shutdown date, but you should really upgrade to 5G earlier
Although the vast majority of mobile phone users stateside might not be able to notice a meaningful difference between 4G LTE and 5G speeds yet (wherever the latter technology is actually available), the nation's top wireless service providers have been committed to the industry's next big step forward for a pretty long time now.

In anticipation of the true and palpable 5G revolution for the US-based masses, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile are working hard on getting rid of various antiquated technologies without causing too much hassle to a large number of customers.

3G, which has been a thing since the early 2000s, needs to go away in the relatively near future, as highlighted by Big Red's willingness to put a firm date on the completion of its lengthy network shutdown efforts. If this seems familiar, it might be because Verizon initially set a far too ambitious "end of 2019" target for this move, avoiding to take another similar pledge just a couple of months ago.

The carrier is nonetheless adamant that history will not repeat itself, stressing the newly set December 31, 2022 termination date "will not be extended again" and pointing out that its competitors plan to do the same thing several months earlier. 

While that's definitely true for AT&T, which has long aimed for a February 2022 halt of all 3G wireless services, T-Mobile has technically not come out with a specific end date of its own. Granted, January 1, 2022 has been bandied about in the rumor mill for quite some time now, but obviously, nothing's official until it's official.

Circling back to Verizon, it's worth emphasizing that the market-leading wireless carrier claims "less than" 1 percent of its customers are still connected to its legacy 3G network, with the other 99+ percent enjoying the "enhanced features of 4G LTE or 5G." That means only a teeny-tiny number of people will actually be impacted by the December 31, 2022 shutoff, and even those folks still have a good 21 months left to upgrade their undoubtedly archaic devices.

That being said, it's probably wise to take the leap sooner rather than later. As you can imagine, the 3G network will not be terminated all at once, which means a "degradation or complete loss of service" could happen in many places well in advance of the end of next year. 

And yes, even though 5G is not great at the moment, you're strongly advised to buy a "modern" phone fully equipped to access all the latest cellular technologies. You can thank us later.

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