AT&T to shut down its 2G networks by 2017

If you are an AT&T wireless customer and still have a mobile phone that connects to AT&T's 2G GSM or EDGE networks, be prepared to buy either a 3G or 4G device in the near future. AT&T has announced it will shut down its older 2G network by January 1st, 2017.

In a filing this week with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, AT&T stated:

We will manage this process consistent with previous network upgrades and will transition customers on a market-by-market basis from our Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) networks (referred to as 2G networks) to our more advanced 3G and 4G networks.

AT&T also revealed that a surprisingly large amount of its current customers, about 12 percent, are still using its 2G networks. Currently, AT&T has a total of 105.2 million wireless subscribers, as revealed in its recent quarterly financial results.

AT&T has been playing catch up with its biggest wireless rival, Verizon, in deploying its faster LTE-based 4G network. AT&T launched its network in a few US cities in September 2011. Currently, about 51 cities now have access to AT&T's LTE network, compared with over 330 US cities for Verizon's LTE network.

Source: SEC filing

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19 Comments

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Do people not realize this isn't happening till 2017???? This is a reallyyyyy long time away. No need to worry or complain. By then, 3G will probably be as frequently used as 2G is now.

Plus AT&T surely knows that they will have 3G covering nearly every location 2G currently is. Otherwise they wouldn't axe 2G.

Will AT&T extend the courtesy of notifying their 2G customers of this fact and that they should plan to upgrade their devices to run with 3G or 4G?? Or, will their "usual" level of service and corporate arrogance prevent this from happening?

TsarNikky said,
Will AT&T extend the courtesy of notifying their 2G customers of this fact and that they should plan to upgrade their devices to run with 3G or 4G?? Or, will their "usual" level of service and corporate arrogance prevent this from happening?

Oh they'll tell people but these people seem to have a habit of living under a rock or in a cave that is completely cut off from the rest of civilisation - "oh, I didn't hear anything about that" seems to be their reply ignoring the fact that they can tell you word for word what happened the night before on Jersey Shore or some other retched show on television.

Gutierrez said,
there we go, my battery life. Stupid at&t

I hope by 2017 we won't need the shady 2G toggle to be battery conservative...
Then again, maybe all is good, looking at how well our battery tech evolved over the last couple of years *cough* NOT *cough*...

Hmm... interesting...

GS:mac

In the UK you can still use 1G for data, yes its slow but if that's all that's available it's usable, good for Opera Mini surfing.

thealexweb said,
In the UK you can still use 1G for data, yes its slow but if that's all that's available it's usable, good for Opera Mini surfing.

1G really?
That's analogue!
How the hell are you getting Opera Mini on a 1G band phone?

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,
How the hell are you getting Opera Mini on a 1G band phone?

He's not. AMPS networks have been shutdown across the world for well over 10 years (except in the US where it's just nearly ten years). And AMPS carries no data. The signal is reconstituted into audio - you'd have more luck putting an acoustic coupler across your handset and trying to use it as an analogue modem than you would getting digital circuit data from AMPS.

The original GSM GPRS spec was 9.6kbits/s. Which is perhaps what he meant. But this is 2G data.

hornetfighter said,
The original GSM GPRS spec was 9.6kbits/s. Which is perhaps what he meant. But this is 2G data.

Actually before GPRS we had something called CSD, which was then followed by HSCSD; the difference between CSD and GPRS was that GPRS was "always on", and you only paid for the data transferred. To connect to "mobile internet" before GPRS, you had to actually manually activate the connection, and you paid for the time you used. I used to do this on my Nokia 6210 a lonnnnng time ago

mdcdesign said,

Actually before GPRS we had something called CSD, which was then followed by HSCSD; the difference between CSD and GPRS was that GPRS was "always on", and you only paid for the data transferred. To connect to "mobile internet" before GPRS, you had to actually manually activate the connection, and you paid for the time you used. I used to do this on my Nokia 6210 a lonnnnng time ago

What technology is my phone using when it says G on my android phone and I can still use data very slowly.

thealexweb said,

What technology is my phone using when it says G on my android phone and I can still use data very slowly.

That's GPRS

it would be grand if we had 3G service here. i was told by an AT&T service rep on the phone last month that we aren't scheduled to have it until the 3rd quarter of 2014. when i bought my iphone 2 years ago, i was told 3G was less than 4 months away. there's nothing quite like paying for a data plan that is almost completely worthless to me since i rarely use it.

Pas said,
it would be grand if we had 3G service here. i was told by an AT&T service rep on the phone last month that we aren't scheduled to have it until the 3rd quarter of 2014. when i bought my iphone 2 years ago, i was told 3G was less than 4 months away. there's nothing quite like paying for a data plan that is almost completely worthless to me since i rarely use it.

Why didn't you go Verizon? no coverage?

in this area, verizon's coverage is worse than at&t's. 'tis sad but true.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Why didn't you go Verizon? no coverage?

It is only a matter of time i suppose, the only reason i use the 2g spectrum when i have access to 3g/4g is to save battery (the use 2g only option in mobile networks in Android), at least that is what it says it does (consumes less power).

The MAJORITY of their Data Coverage in SQ Miles is still 2G...

This makes me wonder if they are going to finally upgrade their networks, which customers have been screaming about for several years.

ATT is horrid if you have to travel, especially by car, where 90% of the time you have nothing or 2G from a 3rd party tower at best.

I keep a Verizon phone just for Travel, it is the only comprehensive 3G coverage in the USA, and they are the only company WORSE than ATT in how they treat their customers.

thenetavenger said,
The MAJORITY of their Data Coverage in SQ Miles is still 2G...

This makes me wonder if they are going to finally upgrade their networks, which customers have been screaming about for several years.

ATT is horrid if you have to travel, especially by car, where 90% of the time you have nothing or 2G from a 3rd party tower at best.

I keep a Verizon phone just for Travel, it is the only comprehensive 3G coverage in the USA, and they are the only company WORSE than ATT in how they treat their customers.

I'd say they're going to flag the idea of building up 3G and just jump straight to LTE given that it'll be sitting at 700Mhz thus giving them a lot better coverage for less capital expenditure.