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2G shutdown 2017 – What about the GPS trackers?


2G cellular networks will shut down in 2017 – What about the GPS trackers?

How will 2G shutdown affect GPS tracking really? Most of the GPS trackers are running on 2G mobile/cell networks because 2G chips are smaller and more power efficient than the newer 3G/4G chips. This allows the GPS trackers to be small and lightweight and to maximise the battery life. The trade-off of using 2G technology is that the coverage can be limited in certain areas and 2G (GSM) support will be discontinued in the future.

A lot of 2G (GSM) networks are switching off in 2017 and many others will do so in the next few years. After the shutdown dates, you will not be able to use 2G devices on these networks. Your GPS tracker will not be able to make or receive calls or texts, or access the internet.  

The expected shutdown dates for the main regions are as follows:

United States
T-Mobile – Support through to 2020
AT&T – Shutdown date set for January 2017

Rogers – Support through early 2018
Vodafone – Shutdown set for 30th of September 2017

Australia & New Zealand
Vodafone -Shutdown set for 30th of September 2017
Optus – April 2017

UK & Ireland
Vodafone – Shutdown set for 30th of September 2017

Telenor – Shutdown set for 2025

Spain & Germany
Vodafone – Shutdown set for 30th of September 2017

Singtel – 1st of April 2017
M1 – 1st of April 2017
StarHub – 1st of April 2017

Swisscom – 1st of January 2021

Who will be affected?

If you have a GPS tracker you have a good chance that it supports 2G networks only, because 3G and 4G trackers are really rare and expensive. Devices with old SIM cards can be affected too, because these only support 2G networks, but in this case, you only need to change the SIM cards.

If you think you’re going to be affected by the 2G Mobile network closure check out the parameters of your GPS trackers.

What’s next? – New GPS tracker or Mobile Tracker app

If your GPS tracker is not 3G compatible you have to buy a new one or start looking for alternative solutions.

New 3G GPS Trackers

Buying a 3G tracker is not easy because these trackers are not popular on the market, only a few manufacturer have 3G versions and not for every model. The price of these models are high, a good quality 3G GPS tracker costs 50% more (wholesale price) than a good quality 2G model.

Mobile Tracker apps

Most new mobile phones support 2G, 3G, 4G and WiFi networks, so you don’t need to worry about the network coverage, the mobiles will always connect to the best available network (if any) and they will send their data to our servers. The price of a mobile is about the same as a high-quality GPS tracker, but you usually don’t have to buy a new one because most of the employees already have a business smartphone.

Read more about the comparison or Hard-wired trackers and Mobile Phones:
Hard-wired GPS or Mobile Phone Tracker – Pros and Cons


A 3G tracker costs much and we haven’t mentioned the installation cost and service outages. Starting your own Fleet Management service with a mobile tracker app (eg. EverTrack app) is easy and free.

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Zoltan Sardi
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