Frequently Asked Questions Regarding 2G Sunset
1. Why are you shutting down your 2G network?
Mobile data traffic in the United States grew by 75,000 percent over a six-year span, from 2001-2006. In the six years that followed, mobile data traffic on AT&T’s national wireless network increased more than 50,000 percent (from January 2007 through December 2013). Reallocating capacity to our more advanced wireless networks will help more of our customers have a better experience.
2. The network turn down is not until 2017. Why are you sending me reminders now?
We believe it’s important for us to be transparent about our plans for the 2G network. Our spectrum reallocation efforts have already begun and will continue between now and January 1, 2017. We may turn down some markets entirely before 2017. We’re taking advantage of the long lead time to work proactively with customers who are using our 2G network today to manage their migration to the more advanced networks.
3. You say that you’ll work closely with customers to manage the migration process. How will customers be alerted of the transition and how will you ensure it’s a smooth process?
We’re committed to working closely with customers to make this process as easy as possible. In cases where we’re turning down AT&T’s owned and operated 2G network, we’ll continue to communicate specific details well in advance of turning down the network and work hard to ensure mobile communication needs are met throughout the process.
4. Why can’t AT&T allocate a small portion of its spectrum to accommodate subscribers who don’t want to transition?
Maintaining our 2G network to serve a small number of customers wouldn’t be an efficient use of our spectrum, which can be better used to support our 3G and 4G networks. By making this transition, M2M customers will be able to enhance their applications and solutions with new features (i.e. video cameras for real-time streaming/records for alarm solutions, driver dash cameras for fleet trucks, etc.) because of the higher speeds of the upgraded network, allowing them to better serve their customers and employees. This would not be possible on the 2G network.
5. Is this one way that you’re addressing the issue of limited spectrum?
We are happy with how our network is performing, but we are always looking to augment our spectrum position. In fact, we closed more than 60 spectrum deals in 2013 alone. Aside from the spectrum acquisitions, we’ve invested more than $140 billion of capital and spectrum acquisitions in our wireline and wireless networks in the last six years, and we plan to invest approximately $21 billion this year. We are getting better spectral efficiency with our LTE network, and we’re on track to begin the WCS build as planned in 2015.
6. So do you have plans to turn down your 3G network to put spectrum that’s currently used for 3G to 4G service?
We currently have no plans to turn down our 3G network.
7. Will customers experience issues with the network during this transition?
We anticipate a smooth transition. It’s unlikely but possible that some 2G customers could see minor temporary service issues while we’re completing this work. We’ll work hard to ensure they continue to receive a good network experience.
8. For customers who do transition to a more advanced 3G/4G device, will their coverage be comparable to what they have on the 2G network today?
We anticipate coverage will be comparable to the coverage they received from our 2G network. Our 3G network has virtually nationwide coverage, and we have the nation’s largest 4G network, currently covering nearly 280 million people. A 4G device will operate on the 3G network when customers are not in areas with 4G coverage.
9. Is it true that your competitors will continue to offer service on their 2G network? Why is AT&T shutting down its 2G network so early?
We can’t speak to our competitors’ plans. Adding spectrum and managing our existing spectrum for its
10. How will AT&T help Connected Device and M2M customers adapt to a post-2G world?
AT&T is committed to providing clear, advance notice and communications about our 2G migration and to working closely with our customers to manage the transition. Ultimately, customers are responsible for planning hardware upgrades in a reasonable timeframe prior to planned network shut downs, but AT&T has developed programs, such as our Mobile Broadband Accelerator program, to promote adoption of newer 3G and 4G technologies.
M2M 3G Adoption External Website:
Mobile Broadband External Website:
11. Will AT&T continue to certify 2G modules and devices?
No. AT&T has discontinued certification of 2G hardware. In order to support key customers, AT&T provides maintenance release code for EDO and MVNO devices ONLY when a specific need requires updated code.
12. I’ve heard that not all devices using GSM are traditional devices, some are automated machines. How are these devices impacted?
In addition to traditional handsets, AT&T supports machine-to-machine (M2M) communications for a variety of connected devices, including those found in cars, power meters, shipping containers, wind turbines, vending machines and more. Some of these devices run on 2G/GSM (GPRS/EDGE) technology and will be impacted by our 2G network transition plan.
13. How does this affect my in-building solution?
Service for in-building solutions that are 2G based will be discontinued with this technology sunset.
14. Your competitors have made public statements that they intend to support their respective 2G technologies until at least 2020. Why isn’t AT&T?
As devices rapidly upgrade from 2G to newer technologies, carriers are shifting spectrum and other network resources to support this change, while also bringing new spectrum into service for 3G and 4G. AT&T, like all other companies, must make a business decision about how to allocate limited resources given the explosion of the mobile Internet.