Detour Ahead: 3G Sunset May Impact Your Telematics Strategy

While 2020 has been filled with numerous challenges most of us would rather forget, there were also a few bright spots along the way, one being the widespread proliferation of 5G networks. Throughout the year, many of the leading wireless providers introduced this lightening-fast technology to a growing number of areas across the country and 5G-enabled mobile phones have become much more readily available. However, while these blazing fast data speeds will certainly benefit our personal lives, the arrival of 5G also brings with it some challenges for fleet operators; specifically, the imminent sunset of most 3G wireless networks.

In recent years, the majority of us have grown accustomed to replacing our mobile phones every year or two, and that transition is now relatively seamless. On the other hand, fleet vehicles often remain in service much longer than the typical cell phone–with an average lifecycle of approximately four to five years–and some complex vocational units may be close to double that number. As a result, the technology in these older vehicles is likely woefully outdated, and as wireless providers begin to shutdown their 3G networks, telematics devices that are not 4G/LTE compatible may begin to experience poor reception in some areas or potentially lose connectivity entirely.

With some wireless providers scheduled to decommission their 3G networks later this month and most others slated to follow suit soon thereafter, you need to begin migrating to new technology before this sunset leaves you in the dark.

First, you’ll need to determine which of your vehicles still rely on 3G telematics devices (rather than newer 4G/LTE units) and then you can begin to assess your options for migration. Depending on the number of vehicles with 3G units still in service, you’ll likely opt for one (or perhaps a combination) of the below scenarios:

While each of the above solutions has its own unique sets of pros (leveraging the latest technology, continuous connectivity, etc.) and cons (cost of change, loss of connectivity, downtime, etc.), you’ll need to examine each scenario closely to determine the best course of action for your business. But don’t forget, our team of telematics experts is ready to help you navigate this complex decision and ensure your telematics solution doesn’t lead to an unforeseen detour or create a blind spot in your business.

Ready to get connected? Let ARI help you plug into your fleet data with a telematics solution that works for your business and be sure to subscribe to our Morning Brake newsletter which highlights the latest industry trends and projections to help you stay ahead of the curve.

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