OK first… let’s recap:

  • The 3G network is being shut down.
  • This is happening to put more resources into the faster and more reliable 4G, 5G, and LTE networks.
  • Any 3G devices — from cell phones to GPS trackers — will stop working.
  • (We do a whole breakdown right here.)

 

When cellular providers shut down networks, it’s not like an electrical blackout. They don’t flip a switch and shut everything down at the same time. Providers have already begun to evaluate the locations of cell towers and the number of devices regularly relying on each tower, and they have also begun shutting down towers in low-use areas.

 

What does that mean for you?

 

Well that depends on where you live. Take a look at this map of 4G coverage from one of the major providers.

 

4G cell tower locations

 

Now look at a map of the same provider’s current 3G coverage.

 

3G cell tower locations

 

For much of the country, those who still have a 3G device have already noticed a significant decrease in service availability. Some areas have stopped supporting 3G completely, while others have drastically reduced the number of towers, which means more devices connecting to the same tower.

 

Effects of 3G degradation

 

Simply put: no cell tower, no data. Here’s a reminder of how this process works:

 

How GPS works

 

The key items at work include GPS satellites, tracking devices in vehicles or equipment, and cellular towers. If the cellular tower goes away, there is no way for the stored data in Step 4 to make it to the Linxup portal. It simply stops working — and you get stuck without any information.


Wondering if your data is at risk? We’ve been reaching out to customers with 3G devices to ensure they make the switch before the shutdown hits their area. If you’ve received notice about upgrading and are putting it off, consider the risks of procrastination.

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