Verizon will no longer activate your old 3G-only phone

The carrier is transitioning to 4G LTE-only service, so older phones won't make the cut.

David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
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David Katzmaier

Sorry tiny iPhone 4S from seven years ago, you can no longer be activated on Verizon.

Josh Miller/CNET

If you have an old iPhone 4S from 2011 sitting around and want to activate it on Verizon , you're out of luck. 

Going forward, the carrier will no longer activate phones that only support the 3G cellular communications technology. Instead, new activations will require a 4G-capable phone with VoLTE. The first such iPhone, for example, was the iPhone 6 from 2014. Earlier iPhones can no longer be activated on Verizon.

The reason is that Verizon wants to transition away from the older phones and networks. Here's what a company spokesperson told CNET:

"For several years we've been publicly saying that our 3G CDMA network will remain available through the end of 2019. Virtually all traffic on our network is on our 4G LTE network.  

"To facilitate a smooth transition to 4G LTE capable products and services, we are no longer allowing devices that are not 4G LTE capable with VoLTE to be activated on our network."

The US is in the midst of moving to ultra fast 5G cellular networks, expected sometime in 2019 or 2020. In the meantime, and for years afterward, 4G networks will continue to be the standard. But hey, those old 3G phones will work in Cuba.

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