Navigating the post-2G and 3G era.

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The Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionised industries, enabling seamless connectivity and data exchange between devices. However, with the shutdown of 2G and 3G networks, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) face the challenge of future-proofing their IoT solutions to ensure uninterrupted connectivity. In this blog, we’re going to explore how embracing advanced connectivity technologies such as LTE-M and VoLTE can help OEMs overcome this challenge. We’ll also dig into the benefits of leveraging an eSIM solution to enhance connectivity and empower IoT devices for the future.

The era of LTE-M and VoLTE

As 2G and 3G networks are sunsetted (see our previous blog on 2G and 3G sunsetting), OEMs must adapt to next-generation connectivity options. One such option is LTE-M, also known as Long-Term Evolution for Machines. LTE-M offers an environmentally conscious, low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) solution specifically designed for IoT devices. It provides an efficient and cost-effective means of transmitting data while consuming minimal power, making it ideal for battery-powered devices with limited resources. LTE-M offers enhanced coverage, better signal penetration, and improved battery life, making it a future-proof choice for IoT applications.

Another significant advancement is Voice over LTE (VoLTE), a technology that allows voice calls to be transmitted over an LTE network instead of the traditional circuit-switched networks. With VoLTE, IoT devices equipped with voice capabilities can ensure high-quality and reliable voice communication. This opens up new opportunities for applications such as voice-controlled devices, voice assistants, and remote monitoring systems that require real-time voice interactions. By adopting VoLTE, OEMs can future-proof their IoT solutions by enabling seamless voice connectivity over the latest networks.

What about eSIM for IoT connectivity?

In addition to LTE-M and VoLTE, an eSIM (embedded Subscriber Identity Module) solution can significantly enhance the advantage of future-proofing IoT connectivity. Unlike traditional physical SIM cards, eSIMs are embedded directly into the device, eliminating the need for swapping SIM cards manually. This dynamic programmable SIM technology provides several benefits for OEMs and end-users alike.

Flexibility and scalability

eSIMs enable flexibility and scalability in managing IoT deployments. With eSIMs, OEMs can remotely provision, update, and manage connectivity profiles over the air. This eliminates the logistical challenges of physically replacing SIM cards when devices need to switch networks or carriers, making it easier to scale and manage large-scale IoT deployments efficiently.

Global connectivity

eSIMs offer global connectivity, empowering devices to connect to different networks in various countries without the need for physical SIM cards. This eliminates the complexities of managing multiple local SIM cards or negotiating with different carriers for international deployments. eSIMs enable seamless roaming across networks, ensuring uninterrupted connectivity and eliminating geographical barriers.

Security and reliability

With eSIMs, security measures can be implemented at the hardware level, making them tamper-resistant and resilient to attacks. Moreover, eSIMs can store multiple operator profiles, providing redundancy and failover options to ensure uninterrupted connectivity even in challenging environments or network outages.

Cost optimisation

By leveraging eSIM solutions, OEMs can optimise costs associated with connectivity management. eSIMs enable efficient usage of network resources, allowing for better control and management of data plans. Additionally, the remote provisioning capabilities eliminate the need for physical SIM card distribution, improving carbon footprint, reducing logistical costs and simplifying the supply chain.

What do we know so far?

Here’s what we know so far of networks who’ve announced when sunsetting will begin:

  • AT&T announced that it will finish shutting down its 3G network by February 2022.
  • Verizon announced that will finish shutting down its 3G network by December 31, 2022.
  • T-Mobile announced that it will finish shutting down Sprint’s 3G CDMA network by March 31, 2022 and Sprint’s 4G LTE network by June 30, 2022. It also announced it will shut down T-Mobile’s 3G UMTS network by July 1, 2022, but has not yet announced a shutdown date for its 2G network.
  • Vodafone, EE, Virgin Media, O2, and Three have now publicly agreed to switch off 3G in 2024 and 2G has been agreed to end by 2033. Almost half of their customer base has not been notified of the change.

As 2G and 3G networks sunset, businesses must embrace advanced connectivity solutions to future-proof their IoT deployments with technologies such as LTE-M, VoLTE and eSIM

We’ll just leave this here…

OV can help your business go further with our eSIM platform, eConnect. With eConnect, you can connect to 550+ networks globally with the option to scale as your business grows. This, plus out-of-the-box access to LTE, LTE-M and VoLTE networks, eConnect offers you the flexibility and simplicity to scale without the need for traditional plastic SIM cards.

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