You may have heard by now that the sunset of AT&T’s 2G GSM network is underway and on schedule to be completed by January 1, 2017. Unlike cell phone users, who may purchase new phones every year or two, AT&T counts around 17 million machine-to-machine (M2M) customers across its 2G, 3G and 4G networks, many of whom are still on 2G units, some purchased 8-10 years ago. T-Mobile has committed to servicing its 2G network until 2020 and Verizon through 2021. But that doesn’t mean GPS users should be complacent. It is important to plan your upgrade to 3G (or 4G) now. BlackBox GPS offers several solutions to not only ease the transition for GPS users of 2G hardware, but to improve your fleet ROI in the process. AT&T 2G Sunset is Coming… Will you be Ready?
What is the difference between 2G/GSM, 3G/HSPA and CDMA?
The terms 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G refer to the different generations of wireless communication technology characterized by having a defined range of speed.
Commercially launched in 2000, the GSM standard or 2G is a replacement for analog cellular networks (1G). For GPS asset tracking purposes, 2G was adopted by most communication systems in the world making it most versatile for international use. Due to the dramatic rise in packet-data use, AT&T was forced to acquire (or re-purpose) spectrum to add capacity for the 3G and 4G technology deployed on its network. Otherwise, there was no commercial reason to replace 2G technology in order to meet basic tracking needs.
However, 3G introduces multiple advanced features. The most significant is video calling, which allows the two parties to see each other during the call and it is also a much faster internet connection. 3G/HSPA is the evolution of 3G providing data transfer rates that are considerably in excess of those originally envisaged for 3G.
CDMA uses a spread spectrum technique developed by the military to enhance security. So the data captured by the tracking device is encrypted and encoded before it’s transmitted via multiple different channels over the CDMA network, then recombined into its original form before it’s served up to you.
BlackBox GPS offers Verizon/CDMA units as another solution to the AT&T sunset. With Verizon, AT&T 3G and T-Mobile networks at our disposal, we have the best U.S. wireless network coverage possible and still at affordable prices.
So how do you ensure your fleet management is not interrupted?
Users of 2G GSM on T-Mobile’s network or 2G CDMAs on Verizon’s network can be confident of use without disruption for several years. Take this time to plan your ongoing upgrades or as you replace assets in your fleet.
BlackBox GPS offers a hardware and network agnostic platform making the move to our GPS services a breeze. Users of AT&T GSM 2G devices can either insert a T-Mobile 2G SIM and continue to use the existing device or upgrade to HSPA-3G Locators using the AT&T 3G network or CDMA 2G Locators utilizing Verizon network. We also have varying hardware features from basic to more advanced. Which solution you choose may be influenced by your coverage area, tracking needs or overall budget. Existing wiring harnesses are often compatible, so for many even a new unit will be an easy plug-in. Additionally, we offer OBDII (On-Board Diagnostic) units in either HSPA or CDMA, eliminating the need for wiring harnesses altogether and providing direct access to the vehicle’s ECU for more data analysis. All car and light truck models 1996 (even late 1995) are ECU compliant.
In order to assist our customers with the transition, we have implemented several purchase programs to fit our customer’s needs. While some GPS providers tout their leasing programs, our long-term financing program is proven to be much more cost-effective for qualified customers than leasing at higher monthly service rates that never go away. Those who take advantage of the program early will reap significant savings.
Whether you pay up front or finance new units for 24 months, BlackBox GPS is offering reduced rates for a limited time to new and existing customers. Furthermore, existing customers’ current subscription terms will remain intact.
Making the switch now provides a good opportunity to evaluate your overall needs and to match upgraded devices like OBD telematics or in-cab navigation. Also, this is an excellent time to consider asset tracking for items like generators, construction equipment, trailers and other costly equipment that is susceptible to theft.
Call your BlackBox GPS representative today at 866.933.8986 Ext. 3 to learn more about your upgrade options.