A smooth way through the sunset

It’s been half a year since it started to look like 3G was on its way out in the UK. It has been hard to get concrete information but it has become clear that the process of re-farming 3G capacity to 4G has already begun. What this will mean is that over the next couple of years 3G units will see a steady degradation in available capacity. Eventually, at some point around 2020 those 3G units will have to drop back to 2G to stay on line.

The good news there is that 2G should be available until 2025. But 2G is unlikely to offer the required bandwidth for the application and it is again unlikely that 2G will offer the bandwidth in 2025 that it does now, exacerbating an already bad situation.

Given the longevity of IoT/M2M products (we have SIMs still out ‘on-street’ after fourteen years) and the immediacy of these dates, you would question why anyone is still rolling out devices that aren’t 4G enabled. One reason is cost, as the likely life of a 3G unit shortens so the ticket price gap between it and a 4G unit has grown. It is hard to resist a bargain. The second, more powerful reason is that the buyer may not know that there is only an effective two year lifespan for that product they have just sourced.

What confuses the matter further is that some Operators can’t upgrade SIMs already out in the field from 3G to 4G. This means that even if the customer can replace the hardware already out there then they are faced with new SIMs, new IP addresses and building an entirely new Access Point Name and Virtual Private Network.

Mobius has already upgraded its UK SIMs to 4G, added the capability to its Access Point Names and put the extra capacity in to cope with the expected uplift in data volume. To find out how easy keeping your mobile network up to date should be contact us at juliem@mobiusnetworks.co.uk or +44 1530 511 180

Written by Douglas Gilmour

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