Liberty Mobile has announced that it will be the first mobile service provider in Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands to complete the shutdown of its 3G network, which will take place on 22 February. Víctor Vera, Liberty Mobile’s senior director of RAN Engineering, commented: ‘This is part of our plan to continue improving the network, offer an overall better experience for mobile users on the island, and be more efficient in the use of spectrum. Periodically, providers need to shut off older technologies like 2G and 3G to free up spectrum and infrastructure and thus support and expand newer services such as 5G.’ The executive added that the company ‘has identified a small number of customers that have older devices’. Affected users can replace their older devices with free device upgrades or discounted options on new models at selected retail branches.
In a series of social media announcements, the Telecommunications Regulatory Board (TRB) has confirmed the 3G shutdown plans of Liberty’s chief rivals. The watchdog has clarified that T-Mobile Puerto Rico will shut down the former Sprint CDMA-based 3G networks on 31 March 2022, before deactivating its own UMTS network on 1 July. (Note: this timeline matches T-Mobile’s US-based shutdown schedule.) For its part, Claro Puerto Rico has informed the regulator that it does ‘not have a specific date to eliminate 3G technology and that it will not be in 2022’.