What the 3G Shutdown Means for Trucking
2022 is going to be a loud wake-up call for many fleets. There is a huge shift coming to trucking telematics technology that many fleets are not prepared for. The sun is setting on 3G networks and if your fleet hasn’t made a switch to upgraded technology, you’ll be left in the dark. Hardwired telematics units sold prior to January 2019 will stop working. Any ELD that requires 3G cellular connectivity to perform its functionality will no longer be in compliance with the technical specifications in the ELD rule after the 3G network it relies on is sunset.
Fleet managers that are proactive will be better prepared to navigate the change and avoid service disruption. Here are some common questions about 3G networks and how to prepare and equip your fleet with technology that will save you time, money, and a BIG headache.
What is 3G network and why is it going away?
3G is the third generation of wireless mobile telecommunications technology. As with any type of technology, cellular networks will always be evolving. 3G networks are going away to bring faster networks to market, such as 4G LTE and 5G. All of the major cellular network providers such as Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile will be shutting down 3G service in the U.S. and shifting their resources to expand 4G LTE and build out next-generation 5G networks. AT&T is the next company to shut down the 3G network scheduled for February 2022.
How do I know if my technology will be affected?
If your fleet is using a hardwired telematics unit that was purchased prior to January 2019, you more than likely will be affected by the 3G shutdown. Last November, legacy telematics provider, Omnitracs, estimated that 400,000 of their customers were using 3G networks. This is a huge amount of customers who will need to implement a different ELD and telematics provider.
Who’s shutting down and when?
According to the FMCSA, “The announced sunset dates are below.* These are dates for completing the shutdowns. Mobile carriers are planning to retire parts of their networks sooner.
- AT&T 3G: February 22, 2022
- Sprint 3G (T-Mobile): March 31, 2022
- Sprint LTE (T-Mobile): June 30, 2022
- T-Mobile 3G: July 1, 2022
- Verizon 3G: December 31, 2022
FMCSA strongly encourages motor carriers to confirm whether your ELD relies on a 3G network and ask your provider for their upgrade or replacement plan as soon as possible to avoid compliance issues, as portions of carrier 3G networks will be unsupported in advance of the announced sunset dates.”
What should I do to prepare for the 3G shutdown?
The first step to preparing your fleet for the 3G shutdown is to identify a telematics provider that supports 4G LTE and 5G networks. The best solutions to invest in are going to be BYOD (bring your own device) systems. BYOD solutions, such as the My20 ELD, don’t rely on a specific network provider. The 5G enabled ELD unit connects directly to the driver or fleet’s mobile phone or tablet which guarantees connection to the most advanced cellular network available at that time.