The lifespan of handsets is as much user driven as company driven. I got 9yrs out of my last phone and was told by AT&T, well in advance, of the demise of the 2G network to switch to a new phone. The 2G network had a good run and I see no problem in them shutting it down, migrating customers to the current network standard. 10yr+ run is very good in this society of "I need the latest no matter what the cost" society. Phased in approach of technology is possible if the system engineers are capable. I look back at NTSC video and marveled how useful it was for so long. Engineers figured out how to support older devices without orphaning a mountain of working sets.
This one came via Facebook from Denis S.. John Walko
John, thanks a lot for this article. I really appreciate your understanding of manufacturer's problems. Thank you for that: "the sensors and modules in an M2M networks have a significantly longer life cycle than handsets, and the cost of replacing modules is also higher." I lost when I did exchange campaign to my customers in Australia. I also appreciate your understanding about rural areas. Previously operators mainly focused on urban areas where they can get more money, but with the IoT it is important to cover a lot of rural areas - e.g. most of my customers are located in such areas. I did like T-Mobile's approach. I like that there is no hidden monopoly in the US and customers can benefit from it. This was VERY useful too: "3G is seen as sitting uncomfortably between voice and M2M-centric 2G and data-centric LTE alternatives." It's really sounds more reasonable to re-farm the spectrum to preserve 2G as T-Mobile doing... and then LTE CAT-M will come.
@mhrackin...Hi Mark....it seems to me crazy that they have a usable resource which is ideal for short text and Data exchanges - like your alarm system - and they're turning it off. Sure 2G has limitations - you would not want to use it outside large population centres - but to dedicate it to IOT type stuff would seem to be a no-brainer. Still, who am i......
One issue is who controls the "subscriber." I faced this 2 years ago when my alarm monitoring service told me that the wireless access I had added about a year before was about to be shut off by AT&T. I was astounded that they were still selling 2G-based service when EVERYBODY knew it was at end of life. The service's response was that their equipment provider had only the 2G modems at the time I added wireless. I was pretty much forced to pay ANOTHER $150 for the 3G modem (not even 4G, although one would hope the AT&T 4G/LTE service is backwards compatible (LOL)). I had no choice in the carrier, and didn't even know it was AT&T until it was too late. Since by that time I was a Verizon employee, this was DOUBLY embarassing!
I can see why carriers want to switch it off - hardly anyone uses 2G anymore. But there is still a lot of 2G SCADA / telemetry type stuff around and 2G's limited bandwidth and throughput are not a limiter for low volume short messaging - you mention 6 million MTM users in the article. By offering those users a good deal they could keep this infrastructure paying for itself for years. I'm no expert on this though - does anyone know any good reasons why this could not be done?