After some delays, Verizon is actually set to shut down its 3G CDMA network later this year. But the carrier is still struggling with a subset of customers who are sitting outside the 4G LTE era and haven’t upgraded their 3G phones yet. So, as of 2022, Verizon is sending those wireless customers a free ultra basic flip phone to prevent them from losing connectivity when the 3G network goes offline.
According to its website, Verizon will offer customers one of three phones: the Orbic Journey V, TCL’s Flip Pro, or the Nokia 2720V Flip. The retail price for each of those devices is under $100: the Orbik is $99.99, with the other two running $79.99.
Verizon says customers can opt out of the free 4G LTE flip phone by calling customer service and saying they “would like to decline the free phone for CDMA sunset.” All three have received highly negative reviews on Verizon’s website, with the highest averaging two stars. After all, these are very basic phones. The company also notes that customers can exchange it for something else after receiving the free phone. If customers fail to do so themselves, the phones will be automatically activated 30 days after they are shipped out.
Other US carriers have taken similar steps to prevent customers on older devices from being out in the cold after a network transition. Last year, AT&T shipped Samsung smartphones with 3G devices to some customers. Sprint’s LTE network was shut down just a few days ago, allowing T-Mobile to make better use of those resources. The latter company shut down its 3G UMTS network on July 1, saying that “across the industry, wireless companies are working to retire older network technologies as part of a significant advance that has led to 4G and 5G connectivity.” will greatly enhance its performance.”