Five ways 2G and 3G shutdown can impact your IoT business: how to act
The ongoing shutdown of 2G and 3G networks will impact enterprises using IoT solutions in a variety of ways. For some it will have little to no consequences. For others, planning and action are needed to avoid important IoT devices losing their connectivity. So which way should your business act?
Before we detail the five ways the 2G and 3G shutdown could impact your IoT enterprise, there is one general rule to note: setting a plan early is always better than doing so under a short deadline. Even if you don’t need to take any major action in the immediate future, it is worth beginning to plan for when the day eventually comes. That should help avoid issues such as long lead times on hardware orders, or the need to build competence and resources in a hurry.
No action necessary
If your IoT devices do not currently use 2G or 3G and you have no intention of using those technologies, there is no need for any immediate action. But make sure that also applies for any back-up connectivity for your devices. An audit may be needed to be certain you won’t discover the back-up connection isn’t working in a crisis situation.
Even if you can breathe easy for the moment though, it is always worth weighing up the pros and cons of alternative technologies, and considering how these align with your IoT goals for the future. Many enterprises will find there are potential benefits to upgrading their connectivity solution. Including ‘longevity of technology’ as a condition in future RFPs is a smart way to ensure your connectivity supplier will support future devices over the course of their lifespan.
You can find out more about the benefits of modern IoT technologies in Telia’s guide for taking your IoT into the 5G era.
If you have devices currently using 2G or 3G, then you should first consult the timeline for the 2G and 3G sunset in your local area, then compare it with the lifespan of those IoT devices. Also read our article about the why and when of 2G/3G closure.
If the relevant timeline for the 2G/3G shutdown covers the expected lifespan of your devices by a comfortable margin, then the best step is to ensure that your future product plans include steps for migrating from 2G and 3G to a future-proofed alternative.
This should also help you to budget more accurately for future hardware distribution and installation costs. You can find more insights on the potential costs involved in migrating in the Ericsson, Telia and Transformer Insights 2G and 3G switch-off white paper.
If your local timeline for the 2G and 3G shutdown shows that your current devices will only be supported on existing networks with one or two years to spare, then it is best to revise your product roadmap to include a rapid move away from 2G and 3G. This ensures you have a head start for the inevitable change that is coming.
The roadmap can, for example, be synchronized with regular replacement or maintenance cycles to include upgrading the connectivity modules. Doing so should make the process as smooth as possible.
If the 2G & 3G switch-off is imminent enough in your market that it will impact some of your existing devices within the next few years, then your replacement and maintenance processes need to be accelerated to include switching out 2G/3G devices or connectivity modules, ensuring the sunset does not eliminate your connectivity.
This guarantees a more predictable and managed upgrade process than the alternative of waiting for the last moment before the networks are no longer available, which could lead to unforeseen issues that are easily avoidable with advanced planning.
The most urgent and challenging scenario is having to replace existing IoT devices because the 2G and 3G switch-off will occur before the lifespan of the devices is over.
Devices that are already installed and would otherwise not have been touched need to be swapped out through a truck roll, meaning technicians must be deployed and new devices purchase in a timely manner to complete the swap-out.
Luckily, help is available – read our five minute guide to 2g and 3G network closure for tips on how to evaluate your IoT needs and build the right new solution for your upgrade
It all sounds complicated, should I be worried?
Ultimately, while the types of action required may vary according to the scenario your IoT solution fits, the good news is that upgrading from 2G and 3G has generally proved to be a good experience for companies.
According to the Transformer Insights Enterprise IoT Connectivity survey, a clear majority of companies (60%) navigated the network upgrade process relatively easily.
By planning effectively according to the relevant scenarios listed above, you too should be able to make your process as smooth as possible.
Do you need help in navigating the network closure? Download our guide to modernizing IoT solutions. You can also connect with us here.