Mobile carriers are rolling out their plans to stop providing support for 3G networks this year in 2022.This means that if your ELDs using 3G for connectivity, it will no longer work properly as soon as its carrier sunsets support for 3G in 2022.As a long haul carrier or owner operator, here’s what you need to know in order to stay compliant under the mandates and keep your operations running smoothly.
Why are they sunsetting 3G?
Mobile networks in the US are increasingly focused on their faster, more advanced connectivity technology such as 4G LTE and 5g networks. In order to invest in these technologies, they need to remove support for older technologies such as 3G, which was the standard for the past 20 years, since it was introduced in 2001.Canada is following closely as well, albeit with slower timelines for their sun setting programs, which provides Canadian, non-cross border carriers slightly more time to transition (details below).
Who is affected?
For Switchboard usersIf you’re currently a Switchboard ELD user, you’re good to go! You are not impacted by any means, as all our ELDs are already using 4G LTE technology.For all other carriers/owner operatorsIf you are currently using a different ELD provider, make sure to check whether your devices are on the 3G or 4G network.This may not be the same among all your devices however, as many ELD providers have slowly shifted from 3G to 4G, which means some of their newer devices may be future proof whereas older versions are not.Make sure to check with your provider to ensure you know exactly which ELDs in your fleet are at risk.
When do affected devices need to be switched?
USIf you are operating in the US (regardless of where your carrier is based out of), make sure to determine what mobile network your ELDs are using.Here is a list of the major networks and their last day of support for 3G:
- AT&T: February 22, 2022
- Sprint : March 31, 2022
- T-Mobile: July 1, 2022
- Verizon: December 31, 2022
It’s important to note that many other carriers, such as Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk, and several Lifeline mobile service providers, all use the AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile networks. This means that they will be impacted by the same timelines as above, and you can find the associated networks here.*Sunset dates are subject to change. Contact your mobile carrier for up-to-date information.CanadaAs mentioned earlier, Canada is further behind in their rollout, which gives carriers that only operate in Canada some more time to transition.While these dates may be moved earlier, the tentative deadlines are as follows:
- Telus: December 2025
- Bell: December 2025
- Rogers: December 2025
Similar to the US, there are many subsidiary networks that rely on these 3 networks - you can find the associated network here.
What happens if you don’t switch in time?
If you don’t upgrade/switch your ELD prior to the relevant sunsetting deadline, your carrier will need to deal with non-compliance to the ELD mandates, and subsequently the hours of service regulations.This is due to the fact that your ELD would no longer be connected to data, and as such, it will be unable to accurately record your (drivers’) logs compliantly, which will lead to complications during roadside inspections and audits.To stay compliant, make sure you start exploring other ELD providers early, such as Switchboard, so that you have enough time to make any transitions necessary.
What are ELD providers doing to transition?
Unfortunately, ELD providers are not obligated to do anything in your favor due to this transition. In fact, many providers are using this as an opportunity to sell their users a new device.For example, if you are a Geotab user, they’ve announced that many of their devices will be out of commission due to the sunset of 3G, and that you will need to pay for an upgraded device to migrate towards 4G.If your ELD provider has not been proactive and said anything about this transition, DO NOT assume that it means your carrier is on 4G.Make sure to ask them directly if all your devices are equipped with 4G, and if not, what your transition options are.
What about 4G LTE?
As mobile networks are still investing heavily in 4G LTE infrastructure, it’s safe to say that there is no foreseeable risk to 4G being phased out within the next 10 years."For operators in many parts of the world, LTE is and will be the foundation for the next 10 years at least." - GSMA Intelligence Mobile Economy Report
Your transition options
The most straightforward method of determining what you need to do in order to prepare your fleet for a smooth transition is to talk to your provider directly, as this will vary depending on which ELD you are using.If your provider forces you purchase a new ELD, take this opportunity to evaluate whether or not there are better options out there for you, before you get tied into another multi-year contract.
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