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