If you own a cell phone or any other device that operates on a cellular network, you may have heard conversations surrounding something called the “3G Sunset.” But what does this term mean, and how could it affect you? 

Turns out, the 3G Sunset is bringing some pretty big changes to wireless mobile technology — all of which could affect the functionality of both personal devices and the key devices used in various commercial facilities, such as central station monitoring systems. Let’s walk through it below. 

What Is the 3G Sunset?

As the name suggests, the 3G Sunset refers to cellular service providers shutting down, or “sunsetting,” their 3G networks. These providers have been in the process of upgrading networks for years — from 3G, to 4G, to LTE, and now to 5G. Wireless mobile technology has now advanced far enough for them to put an end to 3G and free up more bandwidth for faster 4G, LTE, and 5G signals. Once they shut off 3G cellular infrastructure, any devices based on 3G technology will no longer have a connection. 

When Will the 3G Sunset Expected to Happen? 

Around the world, some 3G networks have already been shut down, or are in the process of phasing out. In the United States, some providers had planned to sunset it back in 2020 and 2021, but have postponed. 

Currently, these are the expected 3G Sunset dates from the country’s top providers. Some have already passed, while others are expected in the near future. 

  • AT&T: February 22, 2022
  • Sprint: March 31, 2022
  • T-Mobile: July 1, 2022
  • Verizon: December 31, 2022

How Does the 3G Sunset Affect Your Central Station Monitoring System?

So how does the 3G Sunset affect your facility? 

Once the service shuts off, any 3G-operated devices your facility uses will greatly decline in functionality or be completely inoperable. This includes things like smartphones, GPS systems, and — you guessed it — security and monitoring systems. 

If your facility relies on a 3G-operated central station monitoring system to notify first responders that emergency services are needed, it won’t work correctly after the Sunset. This can leave your property, products, and people at higher risk in the case of an emergency. Therefore, it’s important to act now and upgrade to a new solution. 

How to Prepare for the 3G Sunset

As the 3G Sunset has already occurred for some providers and approaches for others, it’s important to know what you can do to prepare. Refer to the following tips for some ideas on how you can set yourself up for a streamlined transition process between systems: 

  • Take inventory. Make a list of all the devices in your facility that are operating on 3G networks. 
  • Create a transition plan. Document a schedule and timeline for upgrading your devices, installing them, and training your employees on how to use them. 
  • Evaluate multiple service providers. Figure out what your facility’s unique service needs are, and search for a provider that can best serve them. See if any providers offer special discounts or additional guidance on the transition. 
  • Upgrade your devices and schedule an installation. Purchase the upgraded devices you need, then have your provider or certified installer remove the old devices and install the new ones. Make sure you find a reputable installer, so the devices can be installed and function properly. This is especially important for devices like central station monitoring systems, which work to protect the safety of your assets. 
  • Communicate changes and provide training. After you’ve installed new devices, make sure everyone on your team is aware of the change and is trained on how to use new devices. 

Need to Upgrade Your Central Station Monitoring System? Choose EMERgency24

If your central station monitoring system will be (or has already been) impacted by the 3G Sunset, it’s time for an upgrade — and for that, we recommended checking out EMERgency24’s solutions

At Vanguard, we’ve worked with EMERgency24 for decades, so we know they offer a high-performance, reliable 24/7 central station monitoring system that’s Sunset-ready. From fire alarm monitoring, to intrusion and panic monitoring, to elevator monitoring, and more, EMERgency24 can help you get the most out of your system and ensure your facility and people are adequately protected. 

Contact Vanguard for Central Station Monitoring System Support

Want more information on central station monitoring and how your system may be impacted by the 3G sunsetting? Contact us at Vanguard Fire & Security Systems. As a partner of EMERgency 24, one of the top trusted names in the 24/7 central station monitoring industry, we’re happy to help you navigate the change and keep your facility as safe as possible.

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