By Published On: November 17, 2021

Will Your Business Be Impacted by 2G & 3G Network Sunsetting?

3G broadband cellular networks and devices will begin “sunsetting” in January 2022 as carriers migrate resources towards higher-bandwidth and lower-latency LTE and 5G technologies.

What does “sunsetting” mean?

The term “sunsetting” refers to when an MNO (Mobile Network Operator) shuts off the cellular infrastructure required to operate broadband cellular networks. 2G network technology – the broadband tech that pre-dated 3G – began sunsetting in 2017 when AT&T stopped servicing its 2G network. Verizon phased out its 2G CDMA network at the end of 2020.

Over the next several months, T-Mobile and Sprint will follow-suit by shutting down their 2G networks, and all major US operators will phase out their 3G networks by the end of 2022. This means that devices reliant on 2G and 3G bands will no longer connect to the internet.

Why is this happening?

Although 2G and 3G networks have been around for decades, they are bandwidth constrained, much less efficient, and more expensive to operate. This has led carriers to build out the next generation of networking technologies – LTE and 5G – to support both consumer and IoT use cases that require high bandwidth and low latency networks.

As a result, all major U.S carriers – AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile/Sprint – have officially announced plans to sunset their 3G networks in 2022:

  • Sprint 3G: January 1st, 2022

  • AT&T 3G: February, 2022

  • Verizon 3G: TBD, 2022

  • T-Mobile 3G: April, 2022

In particular, the rollout of 5G networks opens the door to new IoT use cases that require higher bandwidth, wide-area coverage with reduced latency that was not possible with 2G, 3G and, in some cases, even 4G/LTE technology. To put this in perspective, “true 5G” (i.e. millimeter wave) will be 1,000x faster than 4G/LTE technology with the ability to handle 10,000x more traffic.

This will enable the accelerated deployment of many more IoT devices than exist today – smart cars, homes, cities, healthcare, sensors, manufacturing, agriculture… the list goes on and on.

The problem for many IoT customers is that as networks get upgraded, they are forced to rip and replace SIM cards in order to keep their devices connected. This is not only time consuming, but extremely expensive and challenging given “things” are dispersed in virtually every corner of the world.

Teal developed a fully programmable and dynamic solution to solve this very problem. Through Teal OneChip, IoT customers can access 3,000+ network paths across 196 countries – switching networks over-the-air (OTA) through our platform with the click of a button.

While this might not help the thousands of IoT operators that need to replace millions of SIM cards in the coming months as networks sunset, customers that are looking to future-proof their devices so they do not have this headache moving forward can rely on Teal to give them the control to seamlessly upgrade and change network profiles OTA without the need for an expensive and time-consuming truck-roll. Ever again.

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