The first Verizon LTE networks only opened for business in 2010, but already the carrier is shutting down its older, slower 3G siblings. The reason? To make space for more of the 4G that we all love.

The network's newest LTE networks, in Manhattan, won't fill new chunks of spectrum. Instead, they seem to be taking up space left behind as 1980MHz/1990MHz CDMA EV-DO systems are axed. The roll-out hasn't been officially announced, but rather spotted by Milan Milanovic as he wandered New York's streets, who found LTE signals in the bandwidth where 3G would usually lurk.

That signals what will no doubt be a a very gradual death of 3G, as we all increasingly carry phones of dealing with the faster wireless networks. While 80 percent of data traffic on Verizon's network travels via LTE, at least 40 percent of its customers have handsets that only work with 2G and 3G—so this transition won't continue apace. Incidentally, you can expect 2G to stick around for longer than 3G, as it's used as Verizon's primary voice network. [GigaOm]

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