Operators impacted by 2G network shutdown


The upcoming end to the 2G network in Australia could see transport operators needing to upgrade

Operators impacted by 2G network shutdown
Fleetmatics director of product marketing Todd Ewing.

 

The impact of the impending shutdown of the 2G networks around Australia could spread to fleet operators utilising fleet management and telematics services, forcing them to upgrade their current product, the industry has been warned.

The end of the 2G, which will demand companies move to a 3G or 4G network offering from their telecommunications provider, will begin on December 1 with Telstra, followed by Optus on April 1 and Vodafone on September 30 next year.

With its low cost hardware and ability to handle the small data transfers required by telematics solutions, 2G has remained in use by a number of providers and therefore by their clientele.

According to international software-as-a-service company Fleetmatics, which focuses its attention on GPS-based fleet management systems, the global shift away from the legacy technology means action will need to be taken by operators to be moved to newer technology.

"Currently, many of the world’s telecommunications providers are in the process of shutting down their 2G networks," Fleetmatics director of product marketing Todd Ewing says.

"This move is being driven by greater smartphone usage worldwide, and a growing demand for more mobile data and faster speeds."

So, how does this impact Australian transport and logistics operators? Ewing says it will depend on the solution being used.

"If your current fleet management solution relies on the 2G network for GPS tracking, the shutdown of the 2G network could have a fairly significant impact on your business," he says.

"It means you will need to replace any telematics or tracking devices that currently operate on the 2G network with new, upgraded hardware.

"Removing any 2G-reliant technology across your business can, potentially, be a very costly exercise.

"Unfortunately, many telematics solution providers are offsetting the upgrade cost by forcing businesses to pay to upgrade.

"This can mean businesses are forced to pay thousands of dollars in upfront fees to upgrade their entire fleet of company vehicles."

To find out if a transport business will be affected, Ewing recommends contacting the current solution provider to find out how reliant the business is on 2G technology.

"Give your telematics solutions provider a call to find out if your fleet management software is currently operating on the 2G network, and if so, to what extent," he advises.

"Find out if there are any costs to upgrade, and what your provider’s plan is for helping you upgrade your hardware and get back up and running.

"If your provider suggests that you will have to pay upfront costs to upgrade your hardware, make sure you shop around.

"You don't want to be paying money out of your own pocket, if you don’t have to."

Depending on the solution provider, companies may move to either the older 3G technology or the newer 4G/LTE technology.

The former may have a lower price tag because of its age and availability but its existence may go the same way as 2G in under a decade. The latter is faster but more expensive.

 

 

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