Verizon no longer reactivating, transferring service to iPhones 5S and older

5G technology is promising faster internet and better service for consumers. But it also means devices stuck on older networks are slowly becoming extinct.

Verizon Wireless says starting January 1, 2020, it is not allowing 3G or 4G Non-HD Voice Devices to be activated for new lines or reactivated on existing lines.

That means the “just in case” phones you might keep in a drawer, like an iPhone 5S or prior and specific Android devices, become paperweights.

Dennis DiGiacomo, the owner of MDP Studios, said technology is changing to keep up with the demands of the population.

“More people have cell phones than ever before,” DiGiacomo said. “Cars are connected. We have so many devices out there. They need more room and faster speeds to get data to everyone.”

Verizon Wireless told WINK in a statement that “Virtually all traffic has already moved off our CDMA network onto 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 to be activated on our network.”

Who else technology changes may affect

Abuse Counseling and Treatment, or ACT, coordinator Megan Dalabes, said some abuse survivors need to ditch their phones when they arrive at a shelter.

“Their abuser may have been tracking them on it or had malware, spyware on it,” Dalabes said, “so they might need to get rid of it.”

As a result, survivors rely on donated shelter phones to help them get away from their abusers.

But Dalabes said she is concerned about their phone inventory.

“Nobody donates new phones,” she added. “Everybody who donates phones is donating a phone that’s an iPhone 5 or older.”

She asks if you do have a newer device, to consider donating it — giving some of the most vulnerable a chance to start fresh.

“It helps a lot of people out,” Dalabes said.

To donate a cell phone, contact ACT’s office at 239-939-2553.

Because the location and services are confidential, the shelter asks you to drop off phones at its thrift store, Second ACT Thrift Store, which is in Fort Myers.

What other carriers are doing

AT&T says their customers can reactivate, transfer service to old iPhone 4,5’s, etc. until the 2022 deadline.

T-Mobile says it is not currently making changes for customers with 3G or 4G non-HD voice devices. To see if your phone or device is eligible for their “Bring Your Own Device” program, click HERE.

Sprint says they are still allowing customers to activate, re-activate and transfer service to 3G devices. To see if your phone or device is eligible for their “Bring Your Own Device” program, click HERE.

If you are unsure how the 3G deadlines may affect you, DiGiacomo suggests reaching out to your service provider.

Lastly, before recycling or disposing of a device, always perform a factory reset.

Reporter:Allison Gormly
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