Are you and Your Merchants Ready for the 3G Sunset?

3G Sunset

Do you have a plan in place to quickly and affordably replace these devices, especially considering the equipment shipping and manufacturing delays the payment industry is facing? If not, don’t worry, Apriva is here to help.

The 2G and 3G sunset is coming, and in many cases is already here! We’ll dig into what this all means in a moment, but for now, know that if you or your merchants are still using Point of Sale terminals that run on 2G or 3G technology, in the very near future they will no longer work. Do you have a plan in place to quickly and affordably replace these devices, especially considering the equipment shipping and manufacturing delays the payment industry is facing? If not, don’t worry, Apriva is here to help. We have a number of 4G EMV certified POS devices available, as well as 4G SIM cards to upgrade select existing terminals, and 4G payment solutions that don’t require a traditional POS device at all. AprivaPay Register and AprivaPay Mobile can both run on easy-to-source Apple, Samsung, and Amazon mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, with or without a small-profile point of sale “dongle” device, which have been impacted less by global device delays than traditional POS devices.  

Contact us today to start planning your fast and affordable switch to 4G technology so you and your merchants don’t experience an interruption of service!

When will this 3G sunset take place?

  • AT&T has already shut down the 2G network, and 3G was shut down in February 2022.
  • Verizon closed its 2G network in 2020, and 3G will be shut down by the end of 2022.
  • T-Mobile began shutting down its 3G network in April 2022.
  • Sprint’s 2G and 3G networks began shutting down in January 2022.

2G, 3G, 4G, what does it all mean?

What exactly does the number and letter G in the corner of your mobile or point of sale device stand for, and why are the numbers different depending on the kind of device you’re using? The G stands for generation. This means depending on the age of the device, you’re either using the 3rd or 4th generation of cellular network technology. What’s the difference between the trio? Would a leap from 3G to 4G really matter all that much? Is it really that big of a deal? The answer is a big, emphatic yes! In fact, the difference between 3G and 4Gcould make or break each one of the devices you rely on for payments.

While nearly all consumer mobile devices run on 4G bandwidth today, 3G is still the go-to technology for payment and point of sale devices like vending machines, car-park payment terminals, unattended kiosks and any other sort of device that connects to the internet via a wireless connection. 

What is the 3G sunset?

3G sunsetting means a mobile network carrier shuts off the cellular infrastructure required to operate communication devices based on 3G technology. These 3G networks are slower and less efficient than newer 4G networks, which share the same spectrum. The 4G network is based on Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology built with the long-term in mind, and therefore have a long future for the next decades.

Device manufacturers around the world are now building and optimizing connected devices for these newer networks, and today, many carriers are no longer activating or supporting legacy 2G or 3G devices.

With the 3G network sunset underway, all remaining 2G and 3G commercial and industrial operations must plan their migration to new 4G LTE technology.

Why do carriers shut down networks?

In many cases, the migration away from 2G and 3G networks is driven by the desire of mobile network operators to repurpose the progression for faster and more efficient 4G LTE devices. It is also more cost-effective to operate an LTE or 4G network than a 2G or 3G network because more devices can share the available spectrum. 

There are other highly compelling reasons as well. Newer networks are not only faster, but they support many more devices. They are also far more secure, robust, and easier to maintain. These features of advanced networks make it even more compelling for these shutdowns to be completed. After the 3G network shut down, 3G devices will no longer work.

The end of 3G and what it means for payments

When operators like Verizon & AT&T shut off their 3G cellular infrastructure, 3G devices will no longer have a connection. The 3G devices based on this network technology will no longer work. Due to the 3G network being shut down, suppliers have stopped making 3G equipment. This means if a local 3G tower fails, there may not be the parts available for repair.

The 3G sunset in favor of 4G upgrades will directly impact cellular enable payment devices across the country. The truth is most merchants with cellular connected terminals or unattended payment hardware are using one of two technologies for their payments: CDMA which stands for “Code Division Multiple Access” (running on Verizon’s 3G network) or GPRS which stands for “General Packet Radio Services” (running on AT&T’s 3G network). Vending machines unable to accept payments, car-park payment terminals refusing to print tickets, unattended kiosks rendered unusable. The true scope of this forced shift is quite enormous. One thing is certain, though: If your payment hardware is still operating on 3G (and, odds are, it probably is), it’s up to you to make sure it’s ready for the switch to 4G.

How this change benefits merchants

Sure, it’s not exactly convenient for merchants to have to replace all of their 2G and 3G payment devices and upgrade to 4G. Especially if they have put it off and now face manufacturing and shipping delays (read more about that topic here). But, Upgrading to 4G gives organizations a connection 500 times faster than 3G. As the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market grows, more “things” in the workplace will rely on a fast network for connectivity. In particular, IoT devices like point of sale devices can benefit from 4G’s improved reliability, higher bandwidth, and extended coverage. 4G networks provide more bandwidth and faster data transfer, which increases revenue and productivity for businesses.

Unlike in the past where the 2G network was shut down and replaced by the 3G network, the 4G network will work for the next 10 years or so. This frees up much of the 4G network for the internet of things (IoT), including connected payment devices. For payment devices upgrading to 4G gives a connection 500 times faster than 3G. Therefore, devices will use a much faster and reliable network and won’t have to share that bandwidth with consumer devices.

For this reason, when we talk about upgrading your point-of-sale hardware, we are talking about an upgrade to 4G. The important message here is you can confidently upgrade your payment hardware to 4G and know that it will work for at least 10 years. 

How Apriva can help:

The reality is undeniable: 3G is sunsetting this year, while 4G will be here for decades to come. If you or your merchants accept non-cash payments, you need to make sure your hardware supports 4G technology. If it doesn’t, Apriva has the hardware options to bring you up to speed (literally).

We have a number of 4G EMV certified POS devices available, as well as 4G SIM cards to upgrade select existing terminals, and 4G payment solutions that don’t require a traditional POS device at all. AprivaPay Register and AprivaPay Mobile can both run on easy-to-source Apple, Samsung, and Amazon mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, with or without a small-profile point of sale “dongle” device, which have been impacted less by global device delays than traditional POS devices.

We provide a plethora of services to merchants of all shapes and sizes and pride ourselves on helping to bring your business and its fintech into the next generation of payments technology. With Apriva you can accept payments wherever your business takes you, with or without a payment device.

Contact us today to start planning your fast and affordable switch to 4G technology so you and your merchants don’t experience an interruption of service!