I wouldn't count on analog dying anytime too soon, until wireless providers provide some alternative network and build out to all that rural geography that is currently served by legacy analog equpment.
GM was just short sighted (or cheap) when they limited Onstar installations to analog equipment.
From what I understand, cellcos can turn off analog, IF they want too, after a certain date, but waking up one morning with the plug pulled is unlikely. Analog serves many small communities and rural stretches, especially out west, quite well.
If it were easy and cheap to replace the analog towers in sparsely populated areas, it would have been done already. The city is a different matter. There are plenty of paying customers to pay for upgrades to the network.
The FCC doesn't allow wireline companies to not provide rural dwellers with a dialtone just because the local phone carrier thinks it's too expensive to run a line to their home.
If they try and drop analog a whole lot of rural customers are going to be left without service. This is a potentially dangerous situation. What good is an AGPS equipped digital handset, if it can't connect to a far off tower to make a call?
Australia turned off analog and went CDMA . Apparently they used a lot of "boomer" type cell towers.
As I see it, carriers don't want to spend the money to upgrade rural networks where the chance of recovering costs from high density traffic are non existant. I hope the rural cellular users/travellers get some protection against the bottom line, like the rural wireline subscibers have been.
David Davlindi(AT)hotmail(DOT) com