Today, Verizon set a date for the intention to shut down the aging 3G network: December 31, 2022. It is not just the end of the extremely widespread 3G system, but a watershed moment for Verizon, since the network started on CDMA technology when the company was first formed in 2000. Greater dependence on the GSM-based LTE network, and eventually pushing more customers towards 5G, has caused the company to wean itself off the outdated standard.

Verizon originally planned to shut down 3G operations by the end of 201

9, but expanded it to 2020 and beyond to surpass as many of its customers to older smartphone and network hardware. It has not allowed certification or connection of new 3G-only devices since 2016 in preparation. According to industry analyst OpenSignal, Verizon’s 4G network covers 97.7% of the total coverage area from January 2021, so it is possible that some of the most rural Verizon customers may lose service after the transition.

Verizon says it only encourages 3G customers to switch now, and that those who do not can experience “degradation or complete loss of service” even before the cutoff date.