Preparing for the 3G to 4G Transition
This is it; this is the year that 3G dies. All major carriers have announced their 3G sunset plans in 2022: AT&T will sunset their 3G service on February 22 T-Mobile will sunset their 3G service in April 2022, and Verizon has announced their timing in the back half of 2022.
After the 3G network sunset, there will no longer be data or voice service for devices that do not at least have 4G capabilities. In fact, even for some 4G devices there are situations where the radio software relies on the presence of a 3G network for registration to the network. While some aspects of your device might continue to work normally after the sunset dates, any device that relies on any aspect of 3G will lose data connectivity.
One major difference between 3G and 4G cellular modules is that historically 3G radios almost always had voice capabilities. These often weren’t used in many applications but they were usually an included part of the radio. 4G radios on the other hand often have no provision for voice, again because it’s often not needed. For this reason, voice centric applications such as emergency call boxes, elevator call panels, alarm control panels and POTS to cellular devices among others often chose to continue using 3G radios even after 4G radios were available. Not only will these devices stop working like any other 3G product once the network is turned off in their deployment area, voice centric devices will need significant hardware changes to adapt to how audio and voice is handled in 4G radios.
This means if your device isn’t 4G, you’ll soon start to lose coverage, and you’ll want to create a plan to upgrade your device to avoid costly disruptions of service. F3 can help with mitigation planning and help you explore the alternative best for your application, whether that’s 4G/LTE, LPWAN, LTE CAT M1, or NB-IOT, etc.