Cell Carriers to Begin Retiring 3G Networks in 2019

The latest information from Verizon is they will discontinue 2G/3G network operations at the end of 2019. AT&T will maintain its 3G network until the end of 2021.


The FCC requires tower owners to employ obstruction light monitoring devices with an automated alarm system designed to detect any lighting failure and notify the owner of said failure. When carriers retire their aging networks, 3G modems connected to these networks will no longer be able to conduct these automated communications. According to Verizon, 3G modems will begin to lose connectivity sometime between now and the end of next year. Upgrades to sites running an AT&T 3G modem should be included in the site’s 3-year operational plan. Flash Technology advises clients to start budgeting for and replacing 3G modems now to ensure continued monitoring compliance.


In October 2017, Flash Technology transitioned all of our LED obstruction lighting systems and monitoring products to LTE technology in preparation for the 3G sunset. We stopped supplying 3G modems as spares in most circumstances beginning in 2018.




In November 2017, Verizon issued the following statement regarding its 2G and 3G sunset:


“On December 31, 2019, Verizon plans to retire its CDMA network (1x/EVDO, 2G/3G), and we will stop activating new devices on CDMA after June 30, 2018. But we will continue supporting the following account services through July 1, 2019: Device ID Change, MDN Change, Price Plan Change, Suspend and Resume, and Reactivate MDN.”


Similarly, AT&T recently turned down its 2G network at the end of 2016. The company has yet to announce plans for an AT&T 3G sunset. The following is an excerpt from its customer contract language that states a commitment to maintain the 3G network until at least the end of 2021:


Section 3. Retirement of Network Technology.  


 3.1 AT&T’s 3G Network will be made available at least until December 31, 2021 or by such other national 3G Network retirement date that AT&T provides to Customer by written notice pursuant to Section 3.2 and any 3G Devices still in use when AT&T retires its 3G Network will no longer be able to communicate using AT&T’s Network. Customer may not activate new 3G Devices on the AT&T Network after December 31, 2018.  


 3.2 AT&T Network.  AT&T is not obligated to maintain any particular technology, and AT&T may reduce or terminate its 3G, LTE and later technology networks at any time in its sole discretion.  AT&T will provide Customer twelve (12) months prior written notice of its intention to (i) terminate 3G, LTE or later technology networks on a nationwide basis, (ii) prohibit future activations or reactivations of SIMs using 3G, LTE or later technology on a nationwide basis, or (iii) terminate 3G networks later than as stated in Sections 3.1.  

Upgrade to LTE


Upgrading to LTE technology ensures your sites remain compliant.


For Vanguard FTS 370 and FTM 190-2 monitoring units:



For FW 175-2 monitoring devices:



Note: LTE modems require a new SIM card. The SIM card present in the 3G modem will need to be deactivated.


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