Why A 2G / 3G Shutdown?

As 5G technology develops, we are seeing more and more global telecommunications providers implementing 2G and 3G sunset strategies.

This is due to the fact that there is limited bandwidth on those frequencies, and shutting down older networks will free up space for 5G deployment.

It is anticipated that many of these global 2G/3G network closures will be finalised by 2024/2025. We have created an image (below) that outlines when many of these network sunsets will occur, as well as a list of countries in which 2G and/or 3G spectrums have already been re-farmed.

2G 3G sunset infographic

Why Now?

There has been some delay in shutting down 2G/3G networks due to the amount of M2M/IoT devices which utilise these services. Popularised by accessibility, cheaper costs and reliable worldwide coverage, 2G and 3G were ideal for applications with small, infrequent data requirements. (Such as utility metering).

The IoT industry is now looking to next-generation LTE technologies such as Cat-1, Cat-0 and Cat-M1 as 2G, 3G (and eventually) 4G replacements.

Don’t be caught out by legacy devices that rely on 2G or 3G networks – upgrade while there’s still time to prevent a stressful and costly emergency changeover.

A well-planned migration for a small-medium deployment can take up to 2 years!

How Do I Prepare For A Network Shutdown?

The first step is to conduct a thorough audit, ensuring you know exactly what network each device is using as a primary and as backup. Look out for 3G acronyms such as “Next G”, “GPRS” “UMTS” “W-CDMA” and “HSPA/HSPA+/HSDPA”. If your hardware is relying on any of these technologies, they will no longer be operational once a 3G sunset has occurred.

This is also true of legacy applications such as CSD - It would be wise to ensure that your applications aren’t using Circuit Switched Data, although many made the switch with the closure of 2G.

The next step is to look at your current requirements, as well as future scalability. How could you streamline your existing system? What needs to change to protect your business?

In this case, you would ideally be looking at moving to the following networks, depending on your data and speed requirements: “LTE / LTE-A / LTE-A Pro” “4G / 4GX / 4GPlus” “LTE-M / Cat-M1 (LPWAN Technology)” “NB-IoT / NB1 (LPWAN Technology)” “5G / 5G NR”.

These technologies will support ‘New’ Networks and are likely to offer your devices a longer lifespan. Although it is expected there may be a 4G sunset in the future, it is unlikely to be for at least a decade.

We advise checking that your local MNO supports the technologies mentioned above, especially the LPWANs.

Finally, armed with your previous answers, it’s time to find solutions for future-proofing. What are your options if a network or other technology changes?

How Can Robustel Help

Robustel can offer a range of solutions to ease the transition, including an expansive hardware portfolio, industrial protocol support and a modular IoT cloud software platform. Regardless of your industry, Robustel have a solution to keep your business connected.

To get in touch with Robustel and arrange a discussion with one of our solutions architects contact us today – https://www.robustel.com/contact-us/

If you are already using Robustel devices you can set-up a free RCMS account by clicking here