The 2G network from AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is officially shut down. The reason behind the Jan. 1, 2017 shut down of the network according to the company was to enhance free spectrum for 4G and other upcoming wireless technologies. In a blog post, John Donovan, AT&T Chief Strategy Officer further explained that the retirement of the 2G network was part of the carrier’s 5G Evolution, which involves continued deployment of 4G LTE.
Plans to close up the 2G services were first announced four years ago. However, AT&T took the time to implement the shutdown giving time to 2G customers to upgrade to 3G- and 4G-compatible handsets.
Future technologies network technologies will include 5G and LTE
The shutdown will impact some of AT&T’s existing subscribers. However, the carrier says that the deployment of the network is for the benefit of the majority. Donovan expounds, “Newer, faster technologies will improve the wireless experience. IoT customers will be able to better serve their customers with improved applications and solutions because of the higher speeds of the upgraded network. Mobility customers will enjoy faster speeds to share photos and watch video.”
The company has so far been able to around 2 million accounts of its 4 million connections on its 2G network. This was as of the third quarter of 2016. Prior to the shutdown, AT&T went out of its way to offer discounts and free devices to entitled customers.
But will AT&T survive the prevailing market competition?
As the world evolves, everyone wants to upgrade to the newest technology, which obviously brings in the element of stiff competition. The mobile carriers are no exemption. In response to AT&T’s move, its rival T-Mobile US Inc (NASDAQ:TMUS) has upped its game by giving out free SIM cards to AT&T Mobility IoT customers. It is also offering up to 50MB of connectivity per device each month with a further promise of supporting 2G services through 2020. The question is, is AT&T prepared to match this?
On the other hand, Verizon Communications Inc.(NYSE:VZ) will not be shutting its 2G network, not until the end of 2019. Meanwhile, AT&T’s closed at $41.11 witnessing an increase of $0.15 or 0.38%.