January 13, 2021
3G Sunset Dates – When will 3G be shut down?
Are you prepared for the impending 3G sunset apocalypse?
It seems as if most are not, seeing that 79% of customers of Ting – a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) that uses T-Mobile and Verizon networks – are not aware of 3G sunset. And according to the consultancy James Brehm & Associates, more than half of 125 million cellular IoT devices out on the field run on 2G and 3G networks.
If you own or manage a fleet and have 3G GPS trackers, you are at a risk of them turning into expensive bricks. Providers will not comp you free upgrades to 4G LTE GPS trackers. You will be responsible for that cost and the pain of transition to new devices.
Back in 2019, we discussed the risk of Network sunsets and the upcoming 3G shutdown. Our CMO, Dev Bhatia, experienced the closure of 2G sunset and the fallout that ensued. It was ugly, he said, and warned those with legacy 3G devices.
The final 3G sunset will happen at the end of 2022.
Are you ready for it?
3G Sunset Dates for Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile (and Sprint)
Here are the dates you need to know, for all major US carriers: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint.
Verizon 3G Sunset Date
The leader of market share in wireless subscriptions, Verizon initially declared 3G CDMA sunset at the end of 2019. They scrapped that plan and pushed the network closure to the end of 2020 instead. This past week, they’ve backtracked again, and are now saying it is indefinitely delaying the shutdown.
So are your GPS trackers on Verizon’s legacy 3G networks safe?
Even though they claim on-going support, the reality is looking stark for those with 3G GPS trackers.
Starting this month (January 2021), Verizon will no longer support:
- ❌ Advanced troubleshooting outside of power cycling a device, checking software version and account setup with HD voice.
- ❌ Troubleshooting limited to power cycling of a device, checking recent software version and account setup with HD voice (if applicable).
So if you run into any issues with your 3G devices on Verizon today, they will just tell you to reset your device and go on our merry way.
They are slowly phasing out business-critical features and clearly pushing their customers into upgrading to 4G or 5G devices. Smells like planned obsolescence.
AT&T 3G Sunset Date
AT&T will shut down its 3G networks by February 2022 and your GPS tracker will no longer be supported.
Here’s a recent notice which makes it clear they expect customers to buy replacement devices:
T-Mobile 3G Sunset Date
T-Mobile has not confirmed the date of its 3G sunset. Instead, they’ve been quipping cryptic messages regarding their plan for 3G network shutdown:
“Over the next several years but we haven’t shared timing”
“We’ll make sure any affected customers are aware in advance to make adjustments if needed.”
Very frustrating if you are a customer on T-Mobile’s 3G network. Most industry pundits predict that T-Mobile will shut down its 3G Networks at the end of 2021.
Sprint 3G Sunset Date
Sprint will shut down its CDMA 3G on January 1, 2022. Despite their merger with T-Mobile, Sprint has continued as a separate business.
Interestingly, it was T-Mobile that revealed the 3G shutdown date for Sprint’s CDMA networks. In a letter to its business customers, T-Mobile informed Sprint customers that the date for 3G sunset for Sprint will be January 1, 2022.
Looks like CDMA Shutdown Day for Sprint is 1/1/22 or thereabouts, per this letter I got from T-Mobile.
I’m curious how much of Sprint’s LTE network will be online at that point. Betting that on 1/1/22 it’ll be down to the PCS G block plus B26. pic.twitter.com/dMan26HLox
— Ian Littman (@iansltx) December 27, 2020
So What Now – If You Have 3G Fleet Trackers?
If you are currently in the market for GPS-based telematics for fleet management, you should ask vendors how they will handle the 3G sunset.
Momentum IoT was the first major telematics provider in North America to ship 4G devices. And we offer plans with no contract lock-in.
Pay as you go, and we will switch your hardware to the new networks when the time comes. It’s our problem, not yours.
Test Drive 4G LTE GPS Tracker, Momentum Eagle 1 Today and Future-Proof Your Fleet Management