On February 22, the first American operator, AT&T, closed its 3G network in favor of 4G and 5G.
It was written since 2019, AT&T closed its 3G network on February 22 in the United States. T-Mobile and Verizon are expected to follow later this year. This decision taken by operators to focus on 4G and especially 5G networks does not please everyone. Several devices, risk not working anymore, across the Atlantic we even talk about an “alarmaggedon”.
According to AT&T, 1% of mobile data traffic goes through 3G
This barbarism reflects the alarm industry’s concern. One industry group estimates that two million devices are at risk of failing. In another area, Axios is relaying an alert from The School Superintendents Association that 10% of public school buses will lose their GPS and communication systems.
In San Francisco, transit riders have been informed that all 650 real-time bus shelter displays will cease to function.
AT&T tried to reassure everyone. The operator claims that less than 1% of mobile data traffic goes through 3G. Two million free or discounted 4G LTE phones have been distributed to replace 3G devices. The company insists, the country’s phone coverage will not be affected.
On the subject of “alarmaggedon,” AT&T is more offensive. The carrier reports that the nation’s largest alarm company has successfully updated all of its devices, including a device it designed. For those who didn’t manage to do so, the pandemic would be a good thing, because they preferred to install new ones than to update the old ones.
The US authorities are keeping an eye on things, but they are letting it happen
Nevertheless, when contacted by Axios, a senior White House official said he was monitoring the operators’ transition plans and shared “concerns about the potential impact of these plans on the function of home security and medical alert devices.
The alarm industry’s communications committee asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to delay AT&T’s plan until December, without success. The agency in charge of communications probably has no intention of throwing a wrench in the works after successive postponements of the 5G rollout because of the disruption to aircraft.
FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, said Feb. 18, “I think we’re on track to make this transition happen with limited disruption.” T-Mobile has scheduled its 3G network to shut down on July 1 and Verizon by the end of the year without further details.
In Europe, too, the 3G network is approaching its twilight. Germany and Denmark have put an end to it and other countries are expected to follow. The website 01net has looked at the French case. It appears that the French operators are reluctant for the moment, because there are still many 2G and 3G users in France.