This may mark the starting of ‘an end of a great era’. AT&T officially announced that they will be shutting down the dated but still the most popular 2nd generation network, the GSM, in the US in coming five years. Perhaps this was imminent with the advent of mobile broadband technologies and VoIP, but what a journey it has been, 20 years!
Now I am not sure if AT&T is the first operator to announce such a transition but more operators are likely to follow the same course to free up that juicy spectrum for upcoming 4G systems. Its just a matter of time.
You can read more on this and how AT&T is planning to cope with the customers having 2G only handsets. Link
Kinda interesting. There are only very few customers that currently buy 2G handsets, sure. But how many of the handsets are switching to 2G (without user intervention) in areas with poor coverage, e.g. for voice ? Will you (ever) achieve the same low-end coverage with 3/4G systems ? I would say that in sparsely populated areas, it will be expensive to get rid of 2G.
Read Magnus Melanders interesting post on the impact on M2M by a 2G shutdown..
20 years after the commercial launch of GSM…this is probably the first announcement from a major player on shifting out GSM. The MNO’s seem to have come to an end regarding investments in 3G footprint, thus this becames a challenge to extend 4G up to or above GSM coverage until 2017, and at the same time to offer attractive terminals. It can be noted that TeliaSonera aims at delivering 4G equivalent to present GSM coverage in Sweden by 2015. As seen below M2M may slow generation shift down due to large efforts needed to replace exiting GSM modules in energy meters, alarms, cams, cars, etc.
For the low economy rural parts of the world, the last billon subscribers, GSM still offers great performance in terms of terminal price and battery life time, such as the 199 SEK, 840 hours stand by (35 days!) phone from Nokia: http://www.elgiganten.se/product/mobil-tele-gps/mobiltelefoner/NOK100BLACK/nokia-100-mobiltelefon-svart . 4G terminals will likely need a few years to match this.
Not reading VoIP anywhere in the statement from AT&T. Do you?
I would expect AT&T to continue with voice calls over 3G for quite some time.
No Lars, that was my own opinion of what might be the driving force behind the transition.