The 3G Sunset: The Final Countdown
What is the 3G sunset?
Remember that loud, annoying ticking clock on Kiefer Sutherland’s show, 24, which signaled impending doom? That is the sound fleet managers may hear as the 3G sunset clock ticks down, requiring swift action to avoid losing access to their tracking and telematic devices.
Now we’ve all heard the ads hyping the nationwide roll out of 5G — the 5th generation mobile network. Greater data speed! More reliable! In this case, that hype is real as 5G is 5000 times faster than 3G. It will have a transformative impact on communications technology and all businesses that rely on it.
The first step toward expansion of 5G is the “3G Sunset.”
Short-term pain: potential service disruption
The 3G sunset is the term for major wireless network carriers phasing out their 3G networks to pave the way for the 5G future. Think of a busy city road, clogged with traffic. We’ve all used that road, and it has served us well, but our city has grown such that it can no longer accommodate all the cars and trucks. To reduce congestion, make room for more vehicles, and improve service, local leaders decide to build a new multi-lane highway.
To create a faster and more expansive 5G highway, cellular providers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile must free up more bandwidth. That means tearing down the outdated 3G mobile technology road to make room. When the 3G sunset concludes, any devices based on this technology — phones, tablets and 3G telematics hardware — will no longer have a network connection and will not work. Fleets using 3G devices will need to first upgrade to 4G technology in order avoid a loss of connectivity to vehicle and driver data, record service data, track vehicle location, stay in compliance, and keep their operations running smoothly.
Each carrier has its own sunset schedule:
AT&T 3G network will sunset February of 2022
Verizon 3G sunset for commercial and government fleet customers will occur in December 2022
Sprint 3G shutdown began January 2022
T-Mobile 3G will shut down in July 2022
GPS Insight customers: Contact your customer success manager to schedule your upgrade. Read more about the upgrade here.
Long-term gain: better service
The sunset may cause potential disruption, but the upgrade will lead to better, more efficient fleet service, including:
- Higher bandwidth and data speeds
- Extended wireless network coverage
- Increased compatibility with new cellular technologies
- Wider coverage range
- More reliable network
- Low latency
Regardless of your carrier, now is the time to think about what this means for your fleet. Fleet managers must work with their fleet service team to upgrade their 3G devices to the right technology and avoid a service outage.
As the carrier shutdown approaches, you and your fleet will need to prepare to switch and prevent disruptions to operations by:
- Taking a thorough inventory of your 3G telematics devices to understand the full scope of need.
- Double checking with your provider immediately to upgrade as quickly as possible based on your network carrier and their sunset deadline.
- Creating a transition plan. Work with your fleet service technology provider to timetable the replacement of all 3G devices in your fleet.
- Providing training. After the rollout, ensure the entire team upskills to new technology.
- Scheduling your installation and factoring time for the hardware to be installed.
To get more information about the 3G sunset and find out how to schedule your upgrade, visit this page.
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