AT&T to drop 2G by 2017

It is going to take a hell of a lot of new towers in rural areas to replace 2G with 3G.


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Also as part of our ongoing efforts to improve our network performance and help address the need for additional spectrum capacity, we intend to redeploy spectrum currently used for basic 2G services to support more advanced mobile Internet services on our 3G and 4G networks. We will manage this process consistent with previous network upgrades and will transition customers on a market-by-market basis from our Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) networks (referred to as 2G networks) to our more advanced 3G and 4G networks. We expect to fully discontinue service on our 2G networks by approximately January 1, 2017. Throughout this multi-year upgrade process, we will work proactively with our customers to manage the process of moving to 3G and 4G devices, which will help minimize customer churn. As of June 30, 2012, approximately 12 percent of our postpaid customers were using 2G handsets. We do not expect this transition to have a material impact on our operating results, but will continue to evaluate the financial impact of transitioning customers from 2G devices to 3G or 4G devices.

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I'm not sure I follow your comment here, but apparently AT&T has upgraded user phones in the past when doing technology changes. If you don't have a smart phone, you probably aren't upgrading your phone on a two or three year basis. Upgrading phones would be a cost to AT&T.

So AT&T may help with new phones, but that doesn't alleviate all the other problems dropping 2G will cause. For instance, T-mobile uses a different 3G band than AT&T. I suppose new phones could cover both bands, but by and large, most phones don't do 3G on both networks. Canadian 3G IIRC is like T-mob, and European 3G is like AT&T.

Basically you will need at least quad band UMTS or higher if you expect to use both AT&T and T-mobile. Preferably pentaband UMTS and LTE.

The latest flyer from T-Mobile indicates they are adding LTE to the network, but I don't know if that is their own LTE band or if they are sharing.

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