Verizon has finally stamped an expiration date on its CDMA 1X network: Dec. 31, 2019.
The news, first reported by FierceWireless, was confirmed by Verizon spokesman Chuck Hamby on Thursday.
“We put a goal out there, that’s our goal. Having said that, we’re not going to abandon anybody,” Hamby said in a phone interview. “It’s not hard to imagine there might be stragglers, that for some folks it might be more difficult to transition, but we’re not going to abandon any customers.”
Hamby said Verizon is working one-on-one with customers to transition them off the CDMA network. As things currently stand, he said, Verizon has every reason to believe it will be able to shut down the 2G CDMA network by the end of 2019. Hamby said any customer complications will be solved on a case-by-case basis.
“We’re realists and we want to assure our customers that Verizon stands behind them,” Hamby said.
Hamby said he could not immediately provide details of Verizon’s plan for refarming the CDMA 1X spectrum, but said any plan would be flexible.
“We’re going to use it for what best serves our customers,” Hamby said.
Verizon’s 2G CDMA 1X network is currently used to carry voice calls from a portion of the carrier’s wireless customers as well as traffic from some machine-to-machine applications. About 92 percent of Verizon’s total data traffic is now carried over its LTE network, the carrier said during its first quarter earnings call in April.
In November, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said the carrier is looking to introduce LTE-only handsets “probably more to the end of 2016.”
But Verizon isn’t the only carrier with plans to shutter its 2G network.
AT&T CFO John Stevens in April said plans to shut down AT&T’s own 2G network are well underway. Stevens said the carrier had already transitioned some six million customers in the past year, and had already repurposed some of the 2G network spectrum in areas where 2G device traffic has dropped off.
AT&T is poised to decommission the network by the end of 2016, he said.