It was not long ago, 28 years to be precise when the GSM standards and 2G devices were deployed. But by 2018, many of the carriers have already shut down the 2G networks and many more are going to do so all over the world. Few of them have already announced the dates to shut down the 3G networks too. So why is this happening and how it will affect the IoT users?

All the major players in USA are close to the shutting down all their 2G networks in order to provide better service to their customers and to reuse the 2G spectrum for LTE instead. A few weeks into January 2017, all 2G networks of AT&T were shut off. Now the other carriers in the USA are about to shut down and have announced dates to shut off their 2G and 3G network services. The dates are listed below.

AT&T

  • 2G shutdown – January 2017
  • 3G last activations – June 26, 2019
  • 3G shutdown – February 2022

Verizon

  • 2G last activations – June 30, 2018
  • 2G shutdown – December 31, 2019
  • 3G last activations – June 30, 2018
  • 3G shutdown – December 31, 2019

T-Mobile

  • 2G shutdown date – December 31, 2020

Sprint

  • 2G Shutdown – December 31, 2021
  • 3G last activation – April 30, 2019
  • 3G shutdown – December 31, 2022

Shutting down 2G and 3G networks are generally termed as Sunsetting. So why are the telecom companies all hell-bent on shutting down their 2G and 3G networks? This impending shutdown is to make way for their 5G deployments. With increasing 4G proliferation and 5G already being rolled out in some regions, the network carriers focus has been shifting away from GSM and UMTS networks to free up resources for the new technologies. This move away from the legacy technologies is undoubtedly a big transition for several of the IoT and M2M companies because 2G and 3G networks are still the foremost widely used technologies for deployed devices.

Of course, we can hear you saying 2G and 3G networks are still essential for IoT and M2M devices because of their comparatively lower modules cost and operation costs compared to 4G networks. Furthermore, the speed of the 4G network is not required for these devices as 2G’s slow connection is more than enough for today’s data transmission needs. But considering your future deployments and factoring in the sunsetting phenomenon it’s not reasonable to lock your devices into only 2G or 3G.  If your modules are designed to use 2G or 3G, the sunsetting can cause many problems for your future deployments. In order to cope up with the shutting down of 2G and 3G networks, the IoT and M2M companies must evolve and implement modules that can support modern cellular technologies. AT Choice IoT we can guide your team through the complete migration process, and device and module selection. For large scale migrations from other carriers we can also help you offset some of the costs of deployment and help reduce your CapEx.

Of course the transition has created several challenges as this is not a linear procedure across carriers or networks and it varies by region. Beginning from the sunset dates, 2G/3G devices shall not connect to the network and shall discontinue communication within the organization. Thus, many solution providers are looking forward to upgrade communication devices and ensure business continuity with 2G/3G sunsets and LTE migration available readily. This is a global concern too.

So whether you choose to stick with 2G, 3G for now or move on to 4G & 5G and LTE technologies, we here at Choice IoT can help you in managing 2G/3G network sunsets along with an in-depth migration plan. You can be assured that the change shall take place much before the SIM cards and devices are not supported further by the carriers. This way you can avoid the price of communication blackout and you can reduce the cost to deploy personnel. You can turn to us for software, routers, and planning services since long-term migration plans and strategies are important for network administrators and engineers to take advantage of the forthcoming advantages of LTE and 5G and the phase out of their existing 2G & 3G devices.

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