Alarmaggedon? AT&T Pulls the Trigger on Its 3G Sunset Date

AT&T shutdown its 3G service on Feb. 22, leaving an estimated 2 million people without alarm services. Here are some tips if you still have upgrading to do.

Despite attempts from numerous alarm industry and tech policy groups, AT&T stuck to its deadline and sunset its 3G networks on Feb. 22, 2022.

The alarm industry, notably The Monitoring Association (TMA) and the Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC), had reached out to AT&T in 2021 to request it hold off on the sunset until Dec. 31, 2022, which is the same date that Verizon is set to sunset its 3G networks. A petition for emergency relief was even filed with the FCC on May 10 by AICC.

However, AT&T argued that once the date was set, it would be difficult to change due to equipment costs, logistics and contractual obligations that they have in regards to the 5G network —  in some areas the 5G network cannot be activated until the 3G network is down, Shane Clary noted in his August Fire Side Chat column.

For integrators that didn’t upgrade their customers well in advance, the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be a huge roadblock thanks to restrictions, lack of manpower and supply struggles.

That means there are millions of alarm and life-safety customers out there that may have non-functioning alarm systems during an emergency (not to mention other technologies like cellphones, cars and bus systems that still rely on 3G).

“We are heading to alarmaggedon. If you roll the dice, maybe nobody has a problem in the first day or the second day or the third day, but eventually someone’s going to have a problem where they will need that alarm,” Senior Vice President of tech policy group Public Knowledge Harold Feld recently told Axios.

With T-Mobile’s 3G sunset on the horizon (July 1, 2022) and Verizon’s at the end of the year, it is imperative security integrators complete their alarm radio upgrades. AT&T has issued a temporary workaround, but it will only be functional until T-Mobile’s deadline. You can read about it, here.

Check out the SSI articles below for upgrade tips from experts, as well as success stories from industry peers. Also keep an eye on the 3G sunset tag page for the latest news in this area.

About the Author

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Steven A. Karantzoulidis is the Web Editor for Security Sales & Integration. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in Communication and has a background in Film, A/V and Social Media.

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