Four Hidden Opportunities with the 2022 3G Sunset

March 3, 2022

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By the end of this year, most major U.S. wireless carriers will shutter their 3G networks. Along with this change comes many opportunities for businesses and organizations to future-proof their operations and accelerate digital transformation.

Before we dive into the hidden opportunities the 3G sunset provides, let’s go over a quick refresher on what the 3G sunset is.

What is the 3G sunset?

When operators like Verizon and T-Mobile shut off their 3G cellular infrastructure in the coming months, 3G devices based on this network technology will no longer have a connection. This is known as the 3G sunset. After the 3G network shutdown, 3G devices will no longer work. This shutdown includes mobile devices like phones, tablets, and 3G telematics hardware. Some of the main challenges associated with the 3G sunset are:

  • Maintaining ELD compliance

  • Onboarding 4G devices in time for the shutdown

  • Loss of visibility during the transition

  • Internal change management and adoption of new technology

With AT&T’s network already shut down and other carriers sunsets looming, it’s never been more critical to evaluate your options to upgrade. You can read more about the 3G sunset here.

What are the opportunities with the upcoming 3G sunset?

Transitioning away from 3G can be seen as a hurdle but with the right approach, it can be an opportunity for your organization to improve efficiency and compliance.

Read on to understand top opportunities and questions you should be asking yourself as you prepare:

1. Faster connection and improved reliability

Upgrading to 4G gives organizations a connection 500 times faster than 3G. As the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market grows, more “things” in the workplace will rely on a fast network for connectivity. In particular, IoT devices like electronic logging devices (ELD) and dash cams can benefit from 4G’s improved reliability, higher bandwidth, and extended coverage.

With faster speeds comes more data. As we move into the future, fleets that are not data-driven will no longer be competitive.

Samsara’s 4G devices are able to capture more data faster and bring it into the cloud. This improves our AI capabilities and also provides an opportunity to inform more powerful AI features such as predictive maintenance, driver coaching, safety event analysis, and route optimization.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I getting the most out of my new 4G speed capabilities?

  • Does my current technology provider invest in developing AI features?

2. A chance to assess your technology infrastructure before you make new investments

The 3G sunset can be a great time to evaluate your current technology infrastructure and ensure your new technology provider has everything you need for the future. 4G networks provide more bandwidth and faster data transfer, which allows technology providers to deliver modern features such as document upload, live GPS tracking, and video-based safety.

Although 5G is not expected to become commercially viable for several more years, it’s important to select a vendor who will stay on the cutting edge and evaluate the latest technology as soon as it’s available.

Questions to ask yourself about your current infrastructure:

  • Does my current technology provider still serve the needs of my operations?

  • Does my current telematics provider offer real-time GPS tracking?

  • Could my organization benefit from HD video footage from in-cab and site cameras

  • Is there room for technology consolidation?

3. Consolidate your technology providers to reduce costs and improve efficiency

If your organization is currently using multiple solutions for GPS tracking, cameras, maintenance, and more, the 3G sunset presents a clear opportunity to consolidate your vendors and upgrade to a single platform. This is because you already have to plan downtime for your equipment while you make the transition. Not only will consolidating your technology reduce costs, but you’ll be able to save employees’ time switching between solutions and have the ability to view all of your operational data in one place.

Additionally, technology providers with subscription-based models allow you to swap out hardware when 5G networks are viable for commercial use. At Samsara, hardware upgrades are included in your license so you can utilize the most up-to-date technology available on the market. Plus, all hardware is plug-and-play so you don’t have to worry about extended installation downtime or lapses in visibility.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Does my organization currently use multiple technology providers for telematics, safety, and equipment tracking?

4. Increase driver productivity and compliance

With the new Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program (SDAP), which allows drivers 18 to 20 to participate in interstate commerce, there will be an increase in younger populations in the driver workforce. Because of this, there’s a large opportunity to attract and retain drivers by using more modern, user-friendly technology.

With 4G’s faster speeds, you can create automated workflows for your drivers’ daily tasks. Drivers can receive routing updates in real-time and eliminate paperwork with digital document and eSignature capture. Furthermore, organizations that are proactive should see no negative impact on drivers by upgrading their technology to 4G.

Samsara’s modern workflows and built-in 4G LTE WiFi hotspot streamline compliance and messaging and ensure drivers are always connected. By enabling drivers to access online productivity tools like email and work-order management systems, WiFi connectivity reduces error-prone manual processes, streamlines communication between drivers and office staff, and simplifies record keeping.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Could driver productivity be improved?

  • How do my drivers like our current technology?

Start your transition away from 3G with Samsara

Samsara is here to help you navigate changes in technology. If you’re interested in learning how to leverage the 3G sunset to your advantage, download our one pager or watch our webinar.

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