AT&Ts decision, announced last March, to shut down its 2G GSM GPRS network by Jan. 1, 2017 has forced the M2M industry to switch to an alternative. Experts estimate that 10 to 12 million existing 2G GSM M2M devices will be affected by the AT&T shutdown.
Aeris Communications recommends four options for AT&T 2G GSM M2M customers:
- Change service to another 2G GSM carrier using the same 2G GSM device
- Replace the 2G GSM device with a 3G HSPA device
- Replace the 2G GSM device with a 2G CDMA device
- Replace the 2G GSM device with a 4G LTE device
These options are outlined in the Aeris Communications white paper, AT&Ts 2G GSM Sunset.
But for the long term, 2G GSM M2M customers of all wireless carriers should consider where they will be in three, five, and seven years.
As carriers continue to expand their networks to support 4G LTE, 2G becomes more difficult to maintain. And over the next several years, cellular carriers will shut down nearly all of their 2G networks.
Make sure you take into consideration how your product lifecycle fits into the evolution of these M2M networks. Users should be sure to talk with their device provider about how long the current technology will work on their network.
You should also find out the providers technology roadmap and strategy for the discontinuance of 2G. With these facts in mind, you should also make sure your airtime pay plan conforms to the date the 2G network will end.
Before you make a decision, be sure to study the full range of issues and fully acquaint yourself with all your options. For an in-depth discussion of the issue and your options, read the white paper, AT&Ts 2G GSM Sunset.