The looming 3G sunset and how it will affect your fleet

January 07, 2021

What is the 3G sunset? 

As 5G networks are rolled out across the USA, cellular providers need to open up as much bandwidth as possible to make room for the new upgraded connectivity. One part of creating this room involves shutting down their 3G services, taking them out of the radio spectrum. This process has already been started by some providers, and it is expected that 3G will be removed from all networks by the end of 2022. 

Current telematics technology largely uses 3G (and 2G) networks to connect your driver and vehicles together with your fleet.  If you’re using 3G devices, you’ll need to upgrade them to 4G supported units to keep everything connected and running smoothly, avoiding communication dropouts which could lead to a loss of business.  

Why upgrading will be good for you in the long term 

To put it simply, upgrading your fleet to 4G LTE or 5G networks will give you a faster connection. This means higher bandwidth, extended coverage, lower latency, and improved reliability, allowing you to utilize new and more complex services, and collect more data across your fleet. This will give you the ability to complete more analysis and problem solving, helping you make better business decisions to increase efficiency and productivity.  

4G supported devices have the power to connect everything you need into one telematics platform. ELD, dash cam recordings, two-way cold chain monitoring, and drum rotations and water level readings for construction fleets are just some of the features that can be utilized to increase productivity using 4G supported devices. 

Key dates in the USA 

  • December 2021 – Sprint to shutdown 2G network after December 
  • January 2022 - T Mobile and Sprint to shutdown CDMA 3G network 'on or around' the 1st of January
  • February 2022 – AT&T to phase out 3G network  by February
  • March 2022 - T Mobile to shutdown UMTS 3G network after October
  • December 2022 - Verizon to shutdown 3G CDMA network after December
  • December 2022 - T Mobile to shutdown 2G network after December 

What you need to do to get your organization ready 

The first thing you need to do is check how many of your devices are operating on 3G networks. Once you know this the next step is making a 4G transition plan. The main points you need to consider for this are – 

  • Evaluate what needs you have as an organization and which provider will best meet them. 
  • Figure out how long it will take to uninstall old telematics devices and install the new ones. 
  • Get an installer ready to uninstall the old devices and install the new ones. If you are using someone internally you may need to manage their time, or if you are using someone externally you will need to consider availability.  

You will also need to balance your fleets availability with the installers, it’s pretty unlikely all your trucks are going to be parked up at once in the same place. 
Once you have your new devices installed, ensure everyone in your team from drivers to dispatch gets the time and resource to learn how to use the technology properly. This way you will get the highest return out of your investment.  
To find out more about how Coretex can help you future proof your business and avoid any fallout from the 3G sunset, contact us today