Starting later this year, U.S. wireless carriers will begin to repurpose older 3G CDMA and GSM networks. The 3G network sunset is part of carriers’ continued investment in 4G Long Term Evolution or LTE networks. For fleets with 3G-connected onboard equipment, this will require an upgrade to devices that leverage more current networks.
While LTE provides considerable improvements in terms of speed and coverage when compared with 3G, some wireless carriers are already beginning to tout their investment in 5G networks.
This leaves some 3G-connected fleets wondering why they should upgrade to LTE, when 5G is right around the corner. While 5G will provide significantly improved connectivity, even compared to LTE, there are few reasons why fleets shouldn’t wait to upgrade equipment.
#1: 3G Will Disappear Before 5G Becomes Viable
5G is in the same infancy LTE was five years ago, with markets just now being announced and standards being set. Today, 5G-powered hardware and modems are also very sparse. With that being said, 3G CDMA networks will go dark before 5G coverage is widely available.
What’s more, transportation technology typically lags behind consumer platforms. While LTE started to become available for consumer devices about five years ago, onboard equipment did not begin to leverage LTE connectivity until a couple years later, most notably in 2017 when Trimble became the first major fleet mobility to provider to offer a connection to LTE.
We can expect a similar lag when it comes to 5G. Fleets should focus their attention on maintaining valuable connectivity with their drivers and vehicles in the wake of 3G shutdowns, instead of hoping to make a seamless move directly to 5G.
#2: LTE is Built to Last
Although 5G will become a reality, wireless carriers have and continue to make significant investments in LTE networks. While every network will eventually be sunset, wireless carriers have indicated that LTE will be fully viable until at least 2030.
Not only does that give fleets connectivity built to last, but it also gives them access to performance improvements compared to 3G. LTE has ten times the bandwidth of 3G networks, allowing for less latency and faster data transfer rates, leading to an improved in-cab experience for drivers.
LTE also has significantly better coverage when compared to 3G networks, even before the sunset. This can give your fleet and drivers a more robust geographical scope of coverage, helping you maintain connectivity wherever the road might take you.
#3: Access the Latest Innovations in Fleet Mobility
Making the switch to LTE isn’t just about avoiding degradation in coverage. Upgrading to LTE connectivity also opens your fleet up to cutting-edge fleet mobility technology.
Changing out onboard equipment gives your fleet the ability to also update the in-cab experience through the Android operating system. Android’s open platform can provide you with the opportunity to customize the user experience through a mix of proprietary and third-party apps to improve driver productivity and overall business performance.
Many of these latest solutions require the speed and robust bandwidth of LTE. By upgrading your connection, you will have the opportunity to harness these solutions to improve safety and efficiencies, while also achieving a faster return on your technology investment.
Learn More About the ABCs of LTE
While 5G networks are coming, there is no reason for you to wait and miss out on the power and reliability of LTE.
At Trimble, we are here to help ensure your fleet’s connectivity — both today and in the years to come. Find out more about making the move to LTE and all the benefits that come with it by visiting our resources on the Future of Wireless Networks.