Verizon is the last of the major operators in the US to shut down its 3G network, fully decommissioning it at the end of 2022. AT&T’s 3G network, T-Mobile’s 3G UMTS network and Sprint’s 3G CDMA network were all closed down in 2022. More than 99% of Verizon’s customers were using 4G or 5G as of March 2022, as the operator has assisted with device and technology migration.
Shutdowns can help operators make more efficient use of existing spectrum assets and improve 4G and 5G network operations to better serve consumers and communities. The benefits in terms of network and spectrum resources seem apparent, as is the need for operators and the wider ecosystem to help customers transition to new network technologies and potentially new devices. Furthermore, the regulatory flexibility that exists in the US has been key to allowing shutdowns to happen and spectrum to be repurposed.