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AT&T’s 2G/3G Sunset – June 2022 Update. What Does Particle’s Data Show?

As of June 2022, Particle observed a strong acceleration in AT&T’s decommissioning of its 3G network. Learn more about the overall progress of the 3G sunset and what steps you should take.

Camden Gaspar article author avatarCamden GasparJune 14, 2022

Particle is continuing to monitor AT&T’s USA 2G/3G Sunset, using insights from our distributed fleet to help customers identify sunset patterns and prioritize devices for replacement.

The AT&T sunset in the USA is still in process – we observed a marked decline in 3G coverage and signal quality in mid-late February and a gradual plateau over the past few months. To learn more, check out our 2G/3G sunset update from April 2022 here.

However, over the last week (and more generally over the last 15 days), Particle observed a strong acceleration in AT&T’s decommissioning of its 3G network. At this stage, 80% of U.S.-based Particle 2G/3G devices are no longer connecting to AT&T, an almost 30% increase from June 1.

A graph that shows the remaining percentage of 2G/3G carriers in the US

 

A graph that shows the degrading quality of 2G/3G towers in the US

All signs are pointing toward this trend continuing, potentially bringing the AT&T sunset to completion in the next few weeks.

Particle has also been closely keeping watch over T-Mobile’s USA 3G sunset, observing that T-Mobile is still maintaining the majority of its 2G/3G infrastructure. 2G/3G devices with T-Mobile network availability will migrate automatically. 

However, T-Mobile’s coverage in the US is not equivalent to AT&T’s, so many devices will not have coverage available and will go offline. Particle is estimating as many as 30% of 2G/3G devices will have no fallback coverage with T-Mobile networks.

How Particle is Managing the 3G Sunset in the United States

Here’s how Particle has helped – and is continuing to help – our customers migrate away from 2G/3G networks.

  1. By early 2021, we started working with our customers who had deployed 2G/3G devices to build a migration plan – well in advance of the projected sunset dates.
  2. Offered hardware compatibility across generations to make it easy to switch from 2G/3G to LTE.
  3. On an ongoing basis, we’ve monitored the impact, magnitude, and timing of the sunsets across carriers. We do that by analyzing our connectivity data for carrier exposure, geolocating devices based on cell towers and comparing their locations to known T-Mobile tower locations, and running custom firmware during off-hours to collect more information on the progress of the sunset.

The result?

We’ve helped our customers navigate these challenges by giving them greater insight into when their devices will be offline. This helps them focus their migration efforts on the most important activities and their most at-risk devices.

For Particle device-specific documentation on how to navigate the 3G sunset, please refer to our documentation here. If you aren’t a Particle customer but need to migrate a 2G/3G fleet to new technology, contact our sales team

Still getting up to speed? Check out our primer on the 3G sunset.

 

 

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