Future of 2G Networks


#1

I realize the Dash and Dash Pro are 3G devices. However, there are still many 2G modems used in the hacker/module world. Devices like the SIM900 or SIM800. It is my understand that AT&T is dropping 2G in January of 2017. How about T-Mobile? I was looking at using a SIM800 in a project but with what looks like a 1 year life span it clearly doesn’t make much sense.

Since you guys at Konekt are plugged into the cellular world can you give us your thoughts on the future of 2G?


#2

Hello @skeller,

These are great questions, and we appreciate you asking them—lots of others wonder about the same things!

Since Konekt uses both AT&T and T-Mobile in the United States (and a number of network operators worldwide), we obviously care a lot about the network roadmaps of the respective operators. Because of the impending 2G sunset on both AT&T and T-Mobile networks, we designed our own hardware to support both 2G and 3G from the beginning.

Here is a summary of what to expect:



AT&T 2G Sunset (United States)

AT&T announced (first in August 2012 and has continued to uphold) that it plans to finish sunsetting its 2G service in the United States by January 2017. This means that it will be phased out starting no later than 2016.

What will this look like? Well, it will begin, first, by not adding new 2G coverage, and then 2G services will be disabled in favor of 3G service, 4G service, and beyond. Once 2G services are disabled, this will free up radio spectrum space that can then be used for providing newer-generation services.


T-Mobile 2G Sunset (United States)

Way back in 2012, T-Mobile also announced its 2G sunset intentions in the United States. As a part of their announcement(s) circa 2012, T-Mobile announced it planned to not expand 2G service, and focus primarily on expanding 4G services and beyond. Circa 2012, T-Mobile also announced that it planned to continue supporting the stagnant 2G service through 2019.

T-Mobile did announce in 2014 that they would be reallocating parts of their 2G service radio spectrum space for newer-generation services by mid-2015, which has created some confusion about the availability of 2G services; however, T-Mobile contends that they are standing by their promise to continue supporting 2G service, and that M2M/IoT applications, in particular, will not be heavily affected by this reallocation until they finally disable the remaining 2G service.



Conclusions:

  • At this point, new applications really should not use 2G-only solutions, even though T-Mobile has promised in the past to support 2G through the next two years
  • Existing applications using 2G-only solutions should upgrade soon, as they will begin experiencing increasingly sparse coverage starting late-2016 or early-2017 as the AT&T 2G coverage is turned off
  • 3G technologies have already dropped very significantly in price, so now we’ve entered a sweet spot in the market for newer cellular connectivity

How Konekt (Isn’t) Affected by the 2G Sunsets in the United States:

  • Konekt Global SIMs work on both 2G and 3G and can be used with modems supporting 2G, 3G, or both 2G and 3G
  • Our own cellular hardware supports both 2G and 3G networks, and is ready to maximize coverage and sustainability during and through the 2G networks’ sunsets
  • We can offer 4G solutions where needed (but 4G technologies are still quite pricey at the time of this writing)

Hope this helps,
PFW


#3

@skeller & Pat

Telstra in Australia are also closing their 2G network at the end of 2016 so we really have high hopes for the Konekt Dash and it’s cost effective data plans to smarten up our internet enabled controllers.


#4

Thanks for the info, that is very helpful.


#5