Since Verizon launched the first 3G network in 2002, 3G has been a dominant technology, especially among business consumers. In 2010, the first 4G network launched to accompany its 3G counterpart. As 5G networks now take the stage, it seems things are about to look a lot different for network maps starting next week. AT&T, one the nations primary service providers, is shutting down their legacy 3G network on February 22. For companies with fuel tanks monitored by 3G, this change will have a direct impact on their fuel purchases.
As technology continues advancing at a rapid rate, old technologies are being retired as quickly. While the 3G network in the United States was the first of its kind, new 5G networks require more time and money poured into them, making companies focus their resources into these new areas of networks. With Sprint’s 3G turned off on January 1, AT&T is second in line, followed by T-Mobile (July 1, 2022) and then Verizon (December 31, 2022).
So, what happens to those that still use a 3G network? Unfortunately, phones that utilize 3G after the network is discontinued will no longer be able to make calls, and cellular connection will no longer work. Tank gauges that report inventories will no longer connect, meaning customers will have to call their fuel supplier to re-order more fuel. Given the well-documented supply shortages surrounding microchips and cellular technology, upgraded 4G or 5G equipment are on severe backlog, requiring months to fulfill orders.
Phones and tank gauges are not the only technology that will be interrupted when the 3G networks are taken offline. E-readers like the Kindle, alarm systems, portable hotspots, and many other devices will be affected. Although the networks have delayed the shutdown several times in the past, most have taken a strong stance that these upcoming dates are definitive deadlines for customers to switch or have their service discontinued.