AT&T’s shutdown of their 2G GSM/GPRS network has begun and will be complete in 21 months. If you have been in the M2M/IoT industry for a while, you know that the technology and networks are continuously evolving. In fact, there have already been two cellular technology sunsets in the recent past (the ANSI-136 TDMA shutdown in the early 2000’s and the AMPS Sunset in February 2008).
So how long can you count on other networks? No other shutdowns have been announced by any carriers (including Aeris), but educated guesses say that 3G HSPA services will work through the end of this decade at least and 2G CDMA will remain in service until the early 2010’s at minimum. Once fully deployed, 4G LTE will last a long time, but we should not assume that this will be permanent – carriers will continue to enhance performance and throughput for their consumer smartphone needs.
If you have a few thousand devices or less currently deployed on the AT&T 2G network, you still have time to complete your transition before the shut down on January 1, 2017. However, you need to review your options, make a decision on technology, and put a transition plan in place as soon as possible. AT&T has already begun shutting down the network, particularly in areas with lower population densities. And the company stopped provisioning SIMs in 2013.
What are your options for the AT&T 2G shutdown?
- Change service to another 2G GSM carrier using the same 2G GSM device
- Replace the 2G GSM device with a 3G HSPA device
- Replace the 2G GSM device with a 2G CDMA device
- Replace the 2G GSM device with a 4G LTE device
Check out our new 2G Sunset page to read more about the sunset, tabulate how many devices you must replace a day to be ready, and learn more about your alternatives.