Verizon is moving insanely quickly with the growth of their 4G LTE network, so it may make you wonder when the carrier will flip the switch to shut down its 3G network and have its users rely solely on its 4G LTE. It's going to happen at some point, obviously, but Verizon says that it's going to shut down its 2G and 3G networks by 2021.
If you're still relying on the carrier's 3G network, you have approximately nine years to make the switch to 4G. which shouldn't be too much a problem for most users. If you have an iPhone, then you're still using 3G unless you recently upgraded to the iPhone 5. But if you're on Android and you've upgraded phones within the past year or so, chances are you're already good to go.
Vice president of global strategy for M2M at Verizon, Aparna Khurjekar, said that the carrier is “giving a decade worth of pre-warning” before it starts to shut down its 2G and 3G networks. This is certainly more than ample time, and we'd be surprised if most users weren't using 4G LTE by then.
Verizon plans to cover its entire 3G network in the US with 4G LTE coverage by the end of next year, so the new data technology will easily become mainstream well before the planned 2021 shutdown of 3G. I'll still be relying on 3G, though, well after the end of next year, since my iPhone 4S contract doesn't end for another year-and-a-half.
UPDATE: Verizon has gotten a hold of us regarding some "inaccuracies" on the 2G/3G shutdown. The proposed 2021 date is merely just a "guideline" to give enterprise customers time to plan a transition over to the carrier's 4G network. They said they plan to keep their 2G/3G networks up and running in order to support customers who have "mission critical projects." Read the full statement below.
"The Verizon Wireless 2G and 3G networks will be available into the foreseeable future. Recently published dates are guidelines that we are giving customers who have to plan, fund, and transition large enterprise projects to the faster speed networks. The Verizon Wireless 2G and 3G networks will be available as long as necessary to support customers who may have mission critical projects on those networks."