Up a Creek Without a Signal – Surviving 3G Sunsetting
By Samuel Spencer
President & CEO
June 22, 2022
It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. You’re traveling for work or pleasure, you see something rare and amazing, you take a few pictures with your Iphone-13 so that you can capture the moment in time. It’s so remarkable that you want to instantly humble-brag to your friends via social media, so you go to text the images and your phone displays, “No Service.” Frustration sets in – and at that moment you realize you actually can’t communicate with anyone because there’s no wireless network available.
Sound familiar? Well, that scenario has become even more real for millions of people as the telecom giants begin to sunset, or effectively end, 3G wireless network systems. AT&T was the first to do so on February 22, 2022. On March 31st, Sprint’s older 3G (CDMA) network was retired. In a few days, Sprint will end its LTE service and on July 1, T-Mobile will end its 3G service. Verizon will retire its 3G service at the end of the year.
It may not be a big loss for the majority of smartphone users because most of us have upgraded to newer devices over the years and we rely on 4G LTE or 5G wireless networks. But that’s not the case for millions of end users who rely on 3G service to transmit data for other mobile devices including vehicle telematics devices that provide real-time location and information data.
So, what does it really mean? If you’re an auto dealer, or a municipal government with a fleet of service vehicles, you may soon lose the ability to easily monitor your people and mobile assets. You could also lose the ability to locate a stolen vehicle, or one that has some type of mechanical failure. The fact is, most of us take wireless service for granted until we no longer have it. Only then do we realize how much we rely on it every day.
Our Guidepoint Systems team has been tracking the transition and our customer service experts have a few recommendations. First, plan ahead. If you’re a Verizon customer, you should know that the sunset date given by the company at the end of the year is the date they expect the last of their towers to be shut down; their service will likely degrade in different regions leading up to that sunset date. You should also contact your telematics provider early so you can get the vehicle units replaced before the sunset date. Also, make sure the new equipment being installed is 5G compatible. All the LTE and LPWAN technologies used by Guidepoint are 5G compatible, which means the life expectancy is significantly longer. And synchronize your provider service plan with the duration of your needs. We’ve already helped many customers through this transition and we’re ready to assist you with an upgrade should you need help.
The bottom line is anyone with a 3G wireless network device should upgrade NOW. Check with your current provider to get what you need – if they can’t or won’t deliver, contact us at email@example.com and we will find a solution for you. Because the last thing you want to be is “up a creek without a paddle,” or in this case, a signal.