Updated: May 4, 2022
This coming year will see most cell service carriers in North America shut down their 3G networks to accommodate more resources for existing 4G and 5G services, with some carriers estimating that 3G accounts for under 2% of data usage as most modern cellular devices now run on 4G and 5G signals. Though most people and cellular devices will be unaffected by this, some older tech still regularly rely on the 3G network which has been in use for almost 20 years. Why are they doing this? How will this affect you? We discuss all that in this blog.
Why are they doing this?
The 3G network has been around for a couple of decades now and these networks need constant maintenance and upkeep that cost network carriers a lot of money and a lot of manpower. The 3G network also takes up space on the wireless spectrum, space that could be used for the 4G and 5G networks. The carriers believe that not having to maintain the upkeep of 3G networks will improve their 4G and 5G networks future capabilities.
How does this affect you?
Devices that work on the 3G network will stop being able to function. Older 3G cell phones will no longer be able to make or receive calls or indeed connect to websites over a data/cellular connection. This will of course affect cellular GSM intercoms which also run on those older 3G networks. AES products that are predicted to be affected by this network cut off are some of our older GSM units such as CellcomGSM3, CellcomPlus/GSM4 and the Prime5 units that were design for the 3G network.
All AES Global GSM products produced since 2018 and the Cellcom Prime6 series have had 4G capability and will not be affected by the phase out of the 3G network.
Phones and intercoms are not the only thing that are going to be affected by the shutting down of the 3G network, things such as e-readers, portable internet hotspots and various alarm systems will also lose the ability to function correctly, if at all.
What about the rest of the world?
While the USA network carriers are planning this phase out as early as January 2022 and throughout the year, some areas of the world like the UK have networks planning for their phase out of the 3G network by 2023, and while BT (one of the biggest telecoms companies in the UK) has stated 3G represents less than 2% of data traffic across their networks, this still represents millions of devices across numerous communications uses.
What are my options if my current intercom works on a 3G network?
There are two options if your current intercom system works on the 3G network, one option is a full upgrade to a new GSM unit which operates via 4G technology.
Another option is an upgrade package, this would allow you to upgrade the internals of your existing unit to gain access to the 4G network. This would mean changing the modem and PCB board inside the unit itself so that the unit can then access the 4G network and work as intended.
This kit can be found and purchased from here: https://aesglobalparts.us/products/prime-kit-two?_pos=4&_sid=52f5d9c78&_ss=rAH%20THE
I have a Cellular/GSM AES Global intercom, will the 3G shut down affect me?
All GSM/Cellular intercoms built by AES Global (including OEM intercoms) since 2017 have been made 4G ready and will function as normal. If you have an installed Cellular/GSM AES intercom which has been installed before 2018 then unfortunately that device will lose signal to the 3G network as will all 3G devices across North America.
We recommend that you contact your installer and source a 4G upgrade kit from our online parts store found above or take this opportunity to upgrade your intercom from our bigger than ever range of Cellular intercoms found here: https://www.aesglobalus.com/cellular-products.
In the video above Sal takes you through how to upgrade the Firmware on an AES cellular unit in order to keep your AES cell product from being affected by the 3G sunset.
'As a result of the 3G network shutdowns scheduled in 2022, incoming and outgoing calls will be affected, therefore requiring new firmware (FW) updates to keep your system active.
If your system is out of warranty, a replacement PCB assembly will need to be purchased.
We offer individual PCBs and full upgrade kits for your convenience.
Please speak to our Sales team for more details - +1 321 900 4599'
Alternatively, you can download a step-by-step of the process here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/z4emtf7qqbpw9gs/Modem%20Update%20Firmware%20%28USA%29.pdf?dl=0
All Cellular/GSM intercoms from AES Global have been made 4G ready since 2018 and will remain unaffected by the 3G network closure. If you have an AES or AES OEM cellular product manufactured after this date you will be unaffected by the 3G network closure.
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