3G Network Shutdown Update: How Will the Shutdown Affect GPS Tracking Services?

    by Richard Higgs, May 23rd, 2022

With 5G now in full swing, cell companies are looking to sunset networks past their heyday. While this means users of old phones will be out of luck, it also raises significant concerns for GPS tracking services that use 3G technology. For the first time since 2002, companies will need to find a different solution for everyday work.

3G Network Shutdown Update: When Will 3G End for Good?

By the end of this calendar year, 3G will have gotten the final axe from all of the United States’ prominent providers; Sprint on May 31, T-Mobile on July 31, and Verizon on December 31. AT&T was first to shut down their service, doing so in February.

After these dates, all 3G tech (and anything below 3G) will cease connectivity.

Vans on GPS Map

Can Cellular Routers Using 3G Be Updated?

If your fleet is using cellular routers with 3G technology, they will be unusable after this year. There’s no way to upgrade a 3G device to 4G, much in the same way it’s not possible to upgrade a device from 2G to 3G connectivity.

That’s why it’s absolutely key to plan your migration before the 3G network shutdown deadline. Because otherwise, companies could be hit with misfortunes like EEIC violations for failure to properly report vital information. With an obsolete device, there’s no way to collect or send that kind of data, and you’ll have no recourse.

Freight Trucks on Road

Transport Topics and Industry Wonders

Freight Transportation news outlet Transport Topics is among the trade constituents questioning the future of fleets without 3G, noting that an estimated 53% of IOT devices (like cellular routers) run 2G or 3G. They share the sentiments of many; will the 3G network sunset cause unneeded hassle for fleets? Is the industry as a whole ready for a switch as aggressive and wide-sweeping as this?

As Transport Topics and the industry know, those questions can’t be answered for certain. But we do know that in cases like these the best defense is a good offense. Fleets using 3G tech should be in the process of upgrading their equipment as soon as possible, so as to not be left behind.

5G Network

What Will Be Used After the 3G Network Shutdown?

Come 2023, a fleet’s GPS devices will need to be capable of either 4G LTE or 5G network connectivity.

A positive stemming from the shutdown is that what’s replacing 3G is fresh and high-speed; giving fleets a chance to modernize while staying competitive and cutting-edge. It’s important that the fleet industry continues to operate to its fullest potential, and the shutdown embraces that.

Plus, IoT force DIGI reports that 4G will likely be around for at least another decade — meaning a fleet is in good hands with the updated tech coming their way.

The Future of GPS Tracking Services

While it’s never an easy task to replace a well-used system, the life of 3G is coming to an end in the name of faster and more secure devices — a transition that had to happen at some point. Just as we read a 3G network shutdown update today, one day we’ll read about the discontinuation of 4G and 5G networks – because technology always moves forward.