I guess I haven't been keeping up to date with my cellular network protocol lingo. I just always thought that Verizon's network  was CDMA and everyone else was/is GSM. Since I've been on Verizon since my first work-issued on-call cell phone in '99, I just always remembered those four letters (CDMA) as the letters I needed to look for whilst phone-shopping, especially lately for phones bought off Amazon versus phones bought from Verizon directly.

But apparently I'm stupid and old, because CDMA I guess is the old shit, and LTE is the newer/current thing... and Verizon is shutting down its CDMA infrastructure soonish.

If I'm understanding things correctly (I read a whopping one article, so take this info with a giant salt lick), CDMA is what runs the 3G network, and that's what's going away. If you have a 3G-only phone, you will be required to get a new phone. If you live in a place with sketchy 4G/LTE service that falls back on 3G constantly, then you'll have also enable WiFi Calling after 3G/CDMA goes away. And if you're someplace without WiFi, I guess you'll have to eat a dick? 

Verizon's new thing is VoLTE, and it looks like new/current phones need to be able to handle VoLTE ("Voice over LTE"), which also delivers their HD Voice service featuring unicorns and rose-scented farts.  

(I'm so classy today!)

Of course, Verizon will not acknowledge that their cell tower got smashed during a freak 2014 hailstorm here, and within 20 minutes we North Wilmingtonians all went from 5 glorious bars of delicious 4G service to maybe one bar or the dreaded No Signal Triangle. Repeated calls to Verizon and coordinated efforts by neighbors have yielded no fixes, but Verizon is happy to sell you a signal booster/network extender. 


I'm all about no longer supporting ancient stuff, and eventually ripping off the Band-Aid and forcing people to upgrade (*cough* she writes from her physical keyboard phone *cough*).  But I'd rather not be forced to upgrade to something where the supporting infrastructure is broken. 


So maybe it's high time to jump to TMobile or something.  I'm forgetting why I thought staying with Verizon was important. 


Sources: 

https://www.verizonwireless.com/support/knowledge-base-218813/

https://www.fxtec.com/forums/topic/fxtec-on-verizon/#post-18556

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I am strangely relieved that eating them does not provide WiFi.