2G sunset a slow burn

In much of the world, 2G remains an important technology that is not easy to get rid of.

January 26, 2017

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In much of the world, 2G remains an important technology that is not easy to get rid of.

AT&T was the first network in the US to shutter its 2G network, but 2G still remains important in many markets. Source: AT&T

Subscribers around the world rely on 2G cellular, a still-vital technology for machine-to-machine or M2M communications and network availability in rural parts of many countries--and that won't change for some time.

In the US, all three major carriers have announced dates and plans to shut off 2G. But there are surprising differences in their strategies.

Last October when AT&T Mobility confirmed it would shutter its 2G network as of the turn of this year, which it duly did, other nimble operators promptly said they would "throw a lifeline" to subscribers. The most aggressive has been T-Mobile, which promptly announced it would offer free SIM cards and clever service bundles to users of IoT services on AT&T's 2G network.

The country's third largest operator is attempting to lure subscribers by offering up to 50MB of 2G connectivity per device per month through the end of the year. T-Mobile's plan uses the company's "new spectrum-efficient 2G GSM optimization."

The optimization has been achieved by turning an unidentified amount of spectrum to the needs of 2G M2M connections. This, it stressed, "would allow older GSM devices to work alongside more advanced LTE devices on America's most advanced network," through at least 2020. For new customers seeking longer network support, T-Mobile added it will support 2G via its newly approved Category 1 LTE modules.

To read the full article, go to EETimes.

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