AT&T has cut down their legacy GSM network at the start of 2017. We may not use our old Blackberry Pearl or old iPhone on AT&T network just for the sake of nostalgia today, but AT&T is keeping their old promises for sure.
In 2012, AT&T announced that they would shut down the 2G service by Jan 1, 2017. So, if you are still using a mobile phone that makes only GSM calls and make use of EDGE for data needs, then you are stuck.
It is reported that this move of AT&T will not hurt many users as even the basic mobile phones these days make use of 3G and LTE. However, it is hard not to talk about a technology that has been around for so many years.
Users of AT&T would not mind much, as AT&T offers much more than 2G. It is reported that AT&T will repurpose the newly freed spectrum for LTE and that this move will lead to more space for 5G wireless. Just like the end of analog mobile services, this small sacrifice will pay bigger dividends in the future.
“To help support the massive growth of mobile internet usage and free up spectrum for newer technologies, we discontinued service on our 2G wireless networks January 1, 2017,” AT&T Chief Strategy Officer, John Donovan said. “The retirement of our 2G network … is part of our 5G Evolution, which includes continued deployment of our 4G LTE and other technologies in the years to come.”
He further added that, “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 shutdown of the 2G service is also a reminder on how far the mobile data has come since the launch of 2G services. In the United States, the 2G service was introduced at the turn of the millennium. EDGE was a technology that was considered fine at the time when the mobile data services were considered novel.
At the time of introduction of EDGE, most of the users made use of the technology to check email messages, surf the internet, etc. Yet things have changed quite a lot now. These days, a modestly sized image or an app download can crush the 2G services. The modern mobile internet is very much dependent on speeds and the speeds are increasing day by day.