Mobile networks have been the focus of a lot of regulation and discussions over the last few years. Recently, AT&T (News - Alert) announced plans to shut down its 2G network by 2017. The spectrum used by the old 2G network, known as EDGE, will be used by 3G and 4G users. The company is doing this due to an impending spectrum shortage. However, AT&T’s decision to shut down its 2G network has proved to offer gains for Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile (News - Alert) as more M2M customers are turning to them.
ABI Research, a market research and market intelligence firm, has revealed that AT&T's plans to shut down its 2G network are pushing machine-to-machine (M2M) customers toward Verizon, Sprint (News - Alert) and T-Mobile. Shutting down the 2G networks makes sense in relation to cost savings and higher network speeds.
Many M2M customers are still using 2G networks. ABI practice director Dan Shey predicted that AT&T's decision will help the carrier's competitors gain M2M customers. "Verizon (News - Alert) and Sprint will take all the 2G business they can get but their goal is to move 2G customers to 3G and 4G technologies. The dilemma is how to move dedicated 2G customers to 3G and 4G connections,” Shey said.
According to ABI, T-Mobile is expected to gain highest growth in 2G connections, despite being less focused on value-added, end-to-end M2M services than its competitors.
Shey explained in a statement, “Several factors contribute to AT&T's current and expected leadership position in M2M connections.”
However, the big question is whether AT&T will be able to move everything to 3G all over the United States, particularly in rural areas? What will happen to thousands of M2M applications that require very little bandwidth/2G to run and cannot be migrated to 3G and 4G?
Edited by Rachel Ramsey