The end is nigh (for 2G that is)

The days of 2G voice calls are numbered at Verizon Wireless – 1260 days to be exact. Verizon last week told FierceWireless it has set a shutdown date for its CDMA 1X network, which still carries the majority of its voice traffic. That date is Dec. 31, 2019. If you still have a 2G/3G only phone – an increasing rarity these days in the U.S. – you still have plenty of time to upgrade to a 4G device, and Verizon has said it might extend that date if there are still a lot of 4G holdouts in three years’ time. But you’ve been put on notice: 2G networks won’t be around forever.

Verizon isn’t the only one bidding adieu to 2G. AT&T will begin shuttering its GSM network in less than six months, and operators around the world have announced similarly aggressive 2G sunset plans. Why are all of these operators mothballing perfectly good voice networks? The answer is spectrum. They need more of it to feed consumers’ growing hunger for data services, and with limited amount of new airwaves becoming free, they’re cannibalizing their 2G networks for more 4G capacity. They still need to offer voice, but new voice-over-LTE services can do that job much more efficiently than any 2G network.

The main reason 2G is sticking around so long is not for mobile phones but for the industrial internet of things. There are 2G radios embedded in every manner of contraption from shipping containers to soda dispensers to farm combines, and they get replaced far less often than the typical consumer device. The last remnants of 2G networks won’t be serving phones; they’ll be serving the world of machines.

2G, we’re going to miss you. It was 2G that really kicked off the mobile revolution around the world, making mobile service widespread and affordable to the majority of the world’s population. But a market can only support so many generations of mobile technology simultaneously, and it’s looking like that number adds up to three generations. Right before the launch of 4G in the late 2000s, we saw the large-scale shutdown of the remaining 1G (AMPS) networks in the U.S. It’s likely no coincidence that 2G is going offline right before the expected global rollout of 5G services.

This entry was posted in Networks and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The end is nigh (for 2G that is)

  1. Karilynn says:

    Interesting about Verizon’s 2G. Here’s my predicament: I am NOT a techy, infact I can’t wrap myself around burying my head in a phone. I have a modest phone with Tracfone. My purpose fits quite comfortably; cheap to use; I use it for important talk, never chatter or gossip; I rarely text. It’s a security measure for my 120 RT commute. It takes guts to own a Tracfone because service can take years out of your life. So, I bought the Alcatel A206G. I switched from an LG whatever for the sole reason that the Alcatel is a clamshell and I’m not losing minutes while being trashed around in my purse. But, the first one came (3 months ago) but would only work when I am about a mile down the road. I didn’t care. If my car broke down from home to there, I could walk back. A second reason, and perhaps the real truth, is I just didn’t want to spend a day on the phone with Tracfone. But, health issues arose and I thought “holy crap, I better get my phone to work”. So, I spent a hour on the phone with Tracfone service to no avail. They could not get the EMERGENCY CALLS ONLY to subside. They gave up and sent me a new identical phone which I charged up yesterday only to discover that it, too, would only announce emergency calls. Hmmm!!! I have my old LG charging right now to switch back. But, I like the feel of this Alcatel and the clam shell effect. Alcatel reports that this fone requires the transceiver to work on GSM networks, whatever that is. And that it needs 850/900/1800/1900MHz bands or UMTS network w/ 850/1700/1900 Mhz. At this point, I’d like to say my name is clueless. I do know, however, that here in Hawi, HI (Zip code 96719) we have Verizon. And, I’ve learned via this site that 2G will be history in a little over a thousand days…..I may not be alive then (if Hillary takes the WH)…anyone have any ideas what’s wrong here?

  2. Pingback: What cold chains can teach us about the dynamics of IoT power

  3. Pingback: What chilly chains can train us in regards to the dynamics of IoT energy – Ace Of Arenas

  4. Pingback: What cold chains can teach us about the dynamics of IoT power - Fullact Trending Stories With The Laugh Mixture

  5. Pingback: What chilly chains can train us concerning the dynamics of IoT energy – Rem Hauses

Leave a Reply