Midnite Express, a Fargo, North Dakota-based premium truckload fleet with a deep portfolio of services, prides itself on providing the highest quality service, responsiveness and expertise to its customers.
For more than 30 years, Midnite has focused on implementing innovative ways to exceed customers’ expectations and deliver on-time superior service.
Midnite knows that its fleet operates in a world where technology offers the opportunity to create efficiencies and real-time visibility into the location of shipments. That’s why they have invested in technologies that yield the best transportation management tools available. Superior technology and connectivity are crucial to Midnite’s operations, including satellite communications, sophisticated fleet management software, document imaging, and a website designed for customers to offer access to load and account information.
So in 2018, when Midnite learned about cellular carriers’ scheduled shutdown (also known as a “sunset”) of 3G networks – which their in-cab devices ran on – they decided to take a proactive approach to upgrade their devices to the 4G LTE network to eliminate any concerns about loss of connectivity.
Since trucks rely on near-constant network connectivity with the back office for their day-to-day operations, the 3G network shutdown is the next big challenge to fleets that are already stretched thin.
U.S. carriers will begin to sunset 3G CDMA data networks beginning in 2019 with Verizon, and other carriers following suit in 2020 and beyond. Networks will degrade CDMA in stages, so large areas of coverage may disappear at any time, rendering CDMA devices obsolete. It’s hard to say how long a CDMA customer will have reliable coverage, but users will start to feel the pain well before the final switch is turned off.
For more than two years we have been providing our customers with LTE connectivity and are here to help ensure your drivers and fleets don’t lose their coverage. When Trimble was able to demonstrate to Midnite Express how their fleet could be affected by this planned sunset, Mark Wolter, Director of Safety and Maintenance, says they decided to roll out 4G-capable device upgrades well in advance, to avoid a last-minute rush to maintain coverage.
“Our Trimble rep let us know that the 3G network sunset was coming, and we decided to prepare for that so we’re ready for the sunset and don’t have to worry about any coverage interruptions for our drivers or customers,” Mark says. “Our goal was to get ahead of the curve and be proactive versus reactive.”
Midnite decided they wanted to upgrade their entire fleet to the 4G-capable PeopleNet Mobile Gateway by mid-2019, and put in a standing order for several new units per month for a gradual rollout. “That helped us spread out the cost but still be proactive about it,” he explains.
It’s no secret that providing excellent customer service makes for happy, loyal customers. Midnite Express wanted to be sure that their customers’ shipments and freight visibility were not affected in any way by dead spots or service interruptions caused by a degraded 3G network – getting ahead of the curve with 4G LTE devices was of utmost importance.
“Most of our drivers, dispatch and customers can’t even tell the difference – it’s been a seamless operation,” Mark explains. “Everything continues to work exactly the same, so there’s not a big training period. We’re doing this to make sure it continues to operate that way and don’t have any interruptions.”
As CDMA infrastructure is shifted to LTE, users will start to experience challenges related to network accessibility and quality well before CDMA goes dark. Trimble is here to help navigate this transition to ensure uninterrupted fleet connectivity today, and in the years to come. According to Mark, one of the greatest advantages of implementing 4G devices now has been not having to worry about the looming network shutdown.
“It’s very much given us peace of mind to know we are already prepared for the sunset and our operations will not be affected.”
– Mark Wolter, Director of Safety and Maintenance