The End of 2G for Fleet Tracking
As you may or may not know, all car tracking, asset tracking, personnel tracking, and fleet tracking devices use some type of cellular signal to communicate with your fleet tracking software or system. Whether you're using on board diagnostic (OBD) devices, wired devices, or magnetic global positioning system (GPS) tracking devices, they all use some type of cellular signal to provide live, real-time tracking capabilities. What many of our customers don't know is that in the United States (U.S.), and in many countries around the world, the second generation (2G) cellular network is coming to an end.
In the U.S. AT&T has already ended their 2G support, and Verizon is almost complete with its 2G network shutdown. Only T-Mobile and Sprint have committed to continually support 2G fleet tracking devices. T-Mobile has committed to support 2G until 2020, while Sprint has yet to release a disposition date for its 2G cellular network. While you may be thinking that Sprint will keep its 2nd gen network up for a good amount of time longer, you don't want to bet on that happening. Cellular spectrum is very expensive, in 2017 T-Mobile spent over $8 billion dollars on spectrum in the U.S.. Cellular providers will continue to try to optimize the spectrum they have, and will reallocate that spectrum to assure they are having a return on that huge investment.
What does this mean to our customers? If you (or your business) are using an older GPS vehicle tracking device, chances are it runs on a 2G network. In the 2020 time frame you may be required to refresh and replace all of your companies existing GPS tracking devices. The good news is that many of the 2G GPS tracking devices have dropped precipitously in price due to the reduced demand, for example our Classic OBD-2 device runs on 2G networks and is priced at only $44.99. This allows new small or medium sized businesses who are interested in researching the benefits of fleet tracking to dip their toes in the proverbial waters at a low cost to try out the business features of GPS tracking.
If you are new to fleet tracking / GPS car tracking or are looking to complete a technology refresh of your current fleet, make sure you consider future protecting yourself and look for 3G, LTE GPS tracking devices or narrow-band internet of things (NB-IoT) fleet tracking devices from companies like Global-View.Net or our friends over at inteltrack.net. 3G networks will most likely be used for the next 5 years, while LTE and the upcoming NB-IoT networks will most likely be used for decades to come. These devices may cost a bit more than your traditional fleet tracking device, but they may give you the peace of mind that you won't have to prepare for another small capital expenditure for a long time.
We will dig into NB-IoT vehicle tacking devices and technology in a future blog post. As always, if you have any questions or concerns feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy the rest of your week!