How to Prepare for the 3G Sunset in 2022

February 21

Have you heard about the 3G Sunset and how it will impact online activities in 2022? Telecom companies that provide wireless connectivity are shutting down 3G networks throughout 2022 so they can focus tower space on 4G and 5G networks. Businesses that still use 3G devices need to prepare for this major change or face disruption through the potential loss of internet connectivity.

Telecoms Shutting Down Networks in 2022

Various industries still rely on 3G equipment for their operations. Logistics firms, first responders and oil companies still use equipment that connects with 3G networks. But once all the 3G networks are shut down, devices designed for 3G will no longer connect with the internet. Here are sunset dates for some of the top internet providers:

Challenging Transition to 4G and 5G

Despite the shutdown of 2G and 3G networks, tough challenges face telecom and tech developers of 4G and 5G products and services. Supply chain delays have created a domino effect, while chip shortages have also contributed to a slowdown in a wide range of developments. So it may be an awkward transition for some people, especially those who know little about 2G thru 5G and don't keep up with the latest tech news.

Meanwhile, old iPhones and Androids simply won't connect to the internet once the 2G and 3G networks are completely shut down. People who have yet to invest in a modern smartphone might finally get one now that old cellphones will no longer be useful for mobile connectivity. Old 3G phones won't even be able to call 911, but they may still have certain functions over a Wi-Fi connection.

The shift to 4G and 5G may come as culture shock to some people who are happy with their old flip phones. Minimalists who don't like to buy the latest trendy gadget every few years will be annoyed they are forced to conform to a new paradigm. They won't even have the benefit of reselling their old phones as used items. It's possible that remote workforces will face disruption if the full staff doesn't accept the new 4G and 5G standards.

Some environmentalists may complain that this move is causing perfectly good working gadgets to go to waste. At the same time, environmental laws are getting stricter on how to dispose of e-waste. There's also a growing trend toward recycling old electronic gadgets.

The transition to 4G and 5G will most likely disrupt consumers who haven't heard much about it and find out they need to purchase a new mobile device this year. 

Despite the shutdown of 2G and 3G networks, tough challenges face telecom and tech developers of 4G and 5G products and services. Supply chain delays have created a domino effect, while chip shortages have also contributed to a slowdown in a wide range of developments. So it may be an awkward transition for some people, especially those who know little about 2G thru 5G and don't keep up with the latest tech news.

Meanwhile, old iPhones and Androids simply won't connect to the internet once the 2G and 3G networks are completely shut down. People who have yet to invest in a modern smartphone might finally get one now that old cellphones will no longer be useful for mobile connectivity. Old 3G phones won't even be able to call 911, but they may still have certain functions over a Wi-Fi connection.

The shift to 4G and 5G may come as culture shock to some people who are happy with their old flip phones. Minimalists who don't like to buy the latest trendy gadget every few years will be annoyed they are forced to conform to a new paradigm. They won't even have the benefit of reselling their old phones as used items. It's possible that remote workforces will face disruption if the full staff doesn't accept the new 4G and 5G standards.

Some environmentalists may complain that this move is causing perfectly good working gadgets to go to waste. At the same time, environmental laws are getting stricter on how to dispose of e-waste. There's also a growing trend toward recycling old electronic gadgets.

The transition to 4G and 5G will most likely disrupt consumers who haven't heard much about it and find out they need to purchase a new mobile device this year. 

Industries Affected By Telecom Changes

  • Transportation - Vehicle telemetry is an emerging technology that has allowed trucking companies to monitor various metrics that reflect the vehicle and the driver. Companies that have deployed digital transformation in recent years likely already have 4G and 5G compatible technology.
  • Energy - Several EV charging stations are now over a decade old and were originally set up to connect with 3G systems. Such charging stations must be upgraded to still function properly.
  • Utilities - Smart meters are at the heart of Industry 4.0 for power companies, but those designed for 3G communication must be upgraded. Consumers who check their energy usage with old cell phones will need to upgrade to smartphones.
  • Healthcare - The use of wearables for patient monitoring has helped revolutionize the healthcare industry, but older wearables are in jeopardy of ceasing to function with the shutdown of 2G and 3G. It's imperative for doctors to alert their patients who need new wearables.
  • Consumer - Security alarms built years ago that communicate with law enforcement or other monitoring sources online may need to be replaced. Alarm systems that connect on 3G networks will no longer work after 3G connectivity is phased out.

Industries Affected By Telecom Changes

Most people actually already own phones designed for 4G and 5G networks, so they won't be affected at all by the change. For businesses still using 3G phones and other old devices, the challenge will be to set aside a budget for replacement devices. An obvious option for businesses to avoid paying for new technology is to enforce a "bring your own device" (BYOD) policy with the understanding the device must be compatible with 4G or 5G.

While private networks are an option, most companies need to create an action plan to either replace, upgrade or retrofit devices that rely on older cellular technologies. Businesses need a backup plan to avoid downtime if they are unable to meet the sunset dates with replacement devices. Here are action items to consider when preparing for network shutdowns:

  • Identify cellular technology used by devices (2G, 3G, 4G, LTE, etc.) - Make note of which older devices can be upgraded.
  • Identify the cellular carrier providing connectivity for devices - Be aware of what the carrier's plans are with 4G and beyond.
  • Find out when the carrier will shut down 3G service - Remember that by the end of 2022 there will be no more 3G connectivity.
  • Identify and prioritize which devices to replace - Consider replacing these items with the same brands to maintain consistency and familiarity.

Beyond finding capital in their budget to cover the expense of upgrades, companies must also be able to find the necessary parts for the equipment. Ongoing supply chain challenges include labor shortages, supply shortages and shipment delays for items such as computer chips. Due to this logistics crisis, it may be difficult to find affordable or ideal phone brands and models for your business right away.

Some carriers are offering free and low-cost smartphones for 3G users who need to upgrade. Certain older phones can be upgraded for 4G and 5G with a software update and a new SIM card.

Conclusion

The world of 3G is becoming a ghost town in the IT world. Much of it will no longer be supported by telecom or tech companies. The one thing you can predict this century with technology is constant change.

Johannes Beekman

About the author

Our CEO has more than 25 years of experience in manufacturing in the high-tech industry. Johannes has worked for 25 years in the semiconductor industry, where he worked for Philips, Infineon, and Sematech in various management positions in process development, engineering, operations, and sales and marketing. While working for Philips, he was an engineering manager in 2 wafer fab startups. And while at Sematech, he managed various international technical symposia. He has built 3 successful digital marketing companies in the past 8 years. His focus is marketing integration, marketing technology, SEO, and inbound and outbound marketing. And he has developed a content creation system that uses the AIDA model to develop content for every stage of the sales funnel. Johannes has experience working with companies in manufacturing, the high-tech industry, process industry, IT, healthcare, and legal industry, and he has published on several trade-focused websites.


Tags

3G ISPs, 3G sunset, connectivity, telecom


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