Verizon is making a controversial change to its activation process, according to a new report from CNET. Going forward and effective immediately, the carrier says it will no longer activate phones that do not operate on the 4G network with VoLTE capabilities…

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In a statement, Verizon explains that this move is part of its efforts to transition away from its older 3G CDMA network and focus more on 4G LTE and the its future 5G technology. The carrier says that its 3G CDMA network will remain active through the end of 2019, but that “virtually all” of its current network traffic is on its 4G LTE network.

The issue centers around Voice over LTE technology, with Verizon saying that to help “facilitate a smooth transition to 4G LTE capable products and services” it won’t allow activations of devices that are not 4G LTE capable and VoLTE capable.

For iPhone users, this means that Verizon will no longer activate devices older than the iPhone 6, which was the first model to feature VoLTE. Note that while the iPhone 5 was the first model to feature LTE, it does not support Voice over LTE according to Apple.

Here is the carrier’s statement in full:

“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.”

This move by Verizon will obviously not affect users with the latest iPhone models, but it does throw a wrench in the plans of those who purchase older iPhone models as first-time devices for kids or those looking to buy on a budget. This is further complicated by the fact that the iPhone 5s — still a supported device by Apple — runs the current iOS 11 software and will run iOS 12 when it is released later this year.


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