When Will 3G Be Phased Out?

Last updated: May 24, 2019

Major U.S. network operators are slowly phasing out their 3G technology. In this post, I share my impressions about the status of the Big Four networks’ 3G phase-outs. For what it’s worth, I’m not confident all of the information is correct, and it’s possible some network operators won’t stick to their current deadlines.

Verizon

Verizon plans to mostly retire its 3G network by the end of 2019. 3G-only devices can no longer be activated on the network. Here’s an excerpt from Verizon’s knowledgebase:[1]

Verizon Wireless is retiring its CDMA (3G) network at the end of 2019. As a result, we are no longer allowing activation of CDMA-only devices, including CDMA-only basic phones and smartphones, or 4G LTE smartphones that do not support HD Voice service.
Although the network will largely be retired, FirceWireless explains that some of Verizon’s enterprise customers will continue to have access to 3G service after 2019.

AT&T

AT&T appears to have plans to retire its 3G network in early 2022. Here’s an excerpt found on AT&T’s website as of 5/24/2019:[2]

We currently plan to end service on our 3G wireless networks in February 2022.

I’m not sure it’s correct, but I’ve seen an indication that AT&T plans to cease activating 3G-only devices on June 30, 2019.

T-Mobile

As far as I know, T-Mobile hasn’t made any announcements about when its 3G network will be retired. I haven’t seen any information about intentions to block 3G device activation.

Sprint

A document published by Multi-Tech indicates that Sprint may sunset its 3G network on 12/31/2022. I don’t know what source Multi-Tech relies on for that date.

Sprint appears to have had an intention to stop activating 3G-only devices on 4/30/2019. I haven’t confirmed that activations actually ceased.

Footnotes

  1. The excerpt comes from an entry titled CDMA Network Activation Retirement as it appeared on 5/24/2019. The page is archived here.
  2. From a page titled Upgrade to LTE / LTE-M for IoT (archived here).

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