Looming 3G Network Shutdown Could Wreak Havoc on Certain Home Security Systems, Other Devices

by Amanda Glover
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Sorry AT&T users, but the company’s planned shutdown of its 3G network on Tuesday made many people nervous. These fears come from the fact that home security systems, medical alert monitors, and a few other devices no longer work. Sounds concerning, right Outsiders?

Although this isn’t the first time carriers decided to shut down networks, the pandemic continues making things difficult. This is because companies depend on upgrades made by 3G services. Also, other devices require management.

But not all non-AT&T users are safe from the shutdown. According to AXIOS, T-Mobile and Verizon are also planning to shut down their 3G networks this year to support new 5G services. However, AT&T is offering their customers free and discounted 4G LTE phones to help them upgrade. This totals nearly 2 million replacements

AT&T first decided to put a hold on its 3G network in 2019. This came after the company decided that less than 1% of its mobile data traffic runs on the network.

AXIOS claimed that the company insists that phone coverage will not be affected. However, more than just phones use the company’s 3G network. But what are the others?

Did you Outsiders know that there are 3G-connected cars? Some of these vehicles require hardware and software upgrades. They could also completely lose automatic crash notifications and other important features.

What about school buses? Apparently, nearly 10% of all public school buses across the country could lose GPS and communications services.

What’s also nerve-wracking is that an alarm industry group claims that nearly 2 million devices will go offline. These include burglar intrusion systems, fire alarms, and personal emergency alerts.

What Are Technology Experts Saying and What Will AT&T Do?

According to The Alarm Industry Communications Committee, they asked the Federal Communications Commission to force AT&T’s network to delay their plans to upgrade devices and source materials. But what do technology experts have to say on the issue?

Committee Senior Vice President of tech policy group Public Knowledge, Harold Feld spoke to AXIOS. “We are heading to alarmaggedon. If you roll the dice, maybe nobody has a problem on the first day or the second day, or the third day. But eventually, someone’s going to have a problem where they will need that alarm.”

For now, a senior Biden administration official also spoke to AXIOS on the issue. The individual informed the news website that the White House is “closely tracking carriers’ 3G transition plans and shares concerns about the potential impact of these plans on the function of home security and medical alert devices.”

According to AT&T, the company network built a plug-in device to automatically connect 3G alarm service devices to its LTE network. It is also using roaming options to help span the change for many connected devices.

As the next step, T-Mobile will stop its 3G service on July 1. Verizon plans to put an end to its service by the end of 2022. Sorry, Outsiders.

Outsider.com