When is GSM going out in the US?


#1

Hi,

I’m looking into using a GSM breakout board on a project, but I hear that some carriers are getting rid of GSM connectivity.

Anyone in @Hologram know details about this? I don’t want to use GSM if in one year it won’t work.

Thanks!


#2

Word on the street I hear is 2G is gone in the US, except T-Mobile, but not sure when they will get rid of it.

3G GSM, nobody really knows when it will go out in the US. It depends on the market reception of the new LTE Cat M1/NB IoT, but it doesn’t seem like in the next year or two it is going out. (Dec 2018)


#3

Definitely dont go 3G, the modules are more expensive than Cat-M1 modules, more power intensive and coverage isnt that great.

Verizon has nationwide LTE-M1 coverage as they converted all of their LTE towers to be Cat-M1 compliant (its only a software update for them). Last I checked T-mobile would keep 2G until Dec 2020 (https://www.geotab.com/blog/2g-network-shutdown/ ) Note I have found [2G] coverage pretty poor in the US and that was my big motivation to go straight to Cat-M1.


#4

Hi, as you may already know Verizon is shutting down their CDMA network at the end of 2019. Shutdown dates for GSM are uncertain, but the rumors I hear are sometime in 2020 or maybe 2021. It probably won’t all go dark on the same day, but I wouldn’t plan on having GSM connectivity beyond 2020.

If you want to experiment with connectivity and keep your costs down, USB GSM dongles are very cheap (well under $10). In recent years I have deployed many such dongles (ZTE MF190) which have been quite reliable. I use them with an Orange Pi single board computer.


#5

Thanks @AndrewGifft. That’s great info on Verizon and T-mobile! 3G is still expensive, and yeah it is going out sometime although it seems unclear. I’m still getting good 3G coverage for the moment, but sometime in the next couple years it will probably go out is what I’m hearing. Thanks @mbrenner too that’s a cool idea with the Orange Pi and YTE MF190. Thanks!


#6

Hi, I’ve been purchasing USB GSM dongles for around $8 (ZTE MF190) which work quite well. I have not been able to find any USB LTE dongles for under $26 and I have not been able to get most of them to work reliably (or at all).

Even the raw modules (no board, no interface, no nothing) see to be in the $25 range from U-Blox (used in the Hologram Nova), Telit, and the other usual suspects.

If you are aware of any USB (or RS232) LTE solutions for under $30 I would love to learn about them. Cheers, Matt


#7

What are you trying to do? From my testing, GSM 3G is still working well for now and like you said, can be pretty inexpensive.

I don’t use a USB dongle, but I’ve recently fallen in love with Pycom’s GPy (around $55) with a lot of functionality, but it really depends on what you are wanting to do.


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