North American cellular providers are shutting down their 3G networks as they transition to more modern 4G LTE and 5G technologies. With this transition, some devices will be left behind. Here is what you need to know.
In the early 2000s, the first 3G networks ushered in the era of wireless data. They made it possible to use apps on our phones, like Solid Sales Pro™ and Solid Order Entry™. As carriers migrate to newer technology like 4G LTE and now to 5G, many are discontinuing their 3G service this year. As a result, some devices and services will lose service.
What is the Difference Between 3G, 4G and 5G?
The “G” stands for generation. The newer the network, the more capacity for more devices to connect to that network. 3G was introduced in 1998 and is slower than the current 4G and 5G. As more people get access to mobile devices, and the Internet of Things (IoT) expands, as many as 24 billion devices are expected to need cellular network support by 2024. That’s where 5G comes in, offering peak capacity and latency.
“By switching off the older technology and deploying 4G or 5G on that spectrum, the experience of users will improve because the new technologies are much more efficient in how they use that spectrum,” says Ian Fogg, United Kingdom-based vice president for analysis at the mobile analytics firm Opensignal.
There is precedent. When 4G came along, the carriers sent 2G out to pasture back in the day.
Of the three largest carriers in the United States, AT&T went first by shutting down its 3G service on February 22, 2022. T-Mobile will follow on March 31, 2022, and Verizon will wrap it up on December 31, 2022.
Canadian carriers have issued a delayed approach to the 3G sunset, allowing more time to make the transition. December 2025 is being rumoured in the market; however, Canadian carriers (Bell, Telus and Rogers) are hinting the shutdown may happen earlier.
If you are unsure whether your mobile devices are affected, we suggest contacting your mobile network provider directly.
How to Prepare for the 3G Sunset?
If you are currently using or planning on synchronizing Solid Sales Pro™ or Solid Order Entry™ via a cellular data network, you may need to take action. On the other hand, no action is required, if you are only syncing via Wi-Fi networks.
It is always important to plan ahead when it comes to swapping out old technology for new. Now is an excellent time to take inventory of the devices and networks your organization uses – be it cell phones, tablets, or other mobile devices. Check each device’s specifications to check their compatibility with 4G/5G networks.
To ensure uninterrupted business operations, do not leave migrating from 3G to 4G/5G enabled devices until the last minute.
If you are looking for enterprise-grade mobile computers with built-in barcode scanners that fully support your Solid Route Accounting™ needs, please look at the selection on our online store.