Opensignal spotlights US 3G shutdown hurdles - Mobile World Live

Opensignal spotlights US 3G shutdown hurdles

18 DEC 2019

Network benchmark company Opensignal warned 3G customers could become a barrier to 5G deployments if US operators are unable to successfully entice them to upgrade to newer technologies and recycle legacy spectrum.

It noted in a new report the vast majority of 3G users (95.9 per cent) in the country already have 4G-capable devices, but 83.2 per cent do not have a 4G tariff. If US operators offer “compelling” LTE rate plans, they will likely be able to smoothly “transition the vast majority of 3G-only users and accelerate their 5G deployment strategies,” it advised.

Opensignal added extending coverage will be key to migrating another large chunk of legacy customers, as 12.7 per cent live in areas where 4G service is not yet available.

It flagged California (9.7 per cent), Texas (7 per cent) and Florida (6 per cent) as the states with the highest share of 3G-only users.

The report comes as Verizon and AT&T press ahead with efforts to recycle legacy spectrum in the 800MHz, 850MHz and 1.9GHz bands for their 4G and 5G networks. The former recently delayed its 3G network shutdown from end-2019 to end-2020, while the latter said it will turn off its 3G network in February 2022.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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