3G on the way out. What’s this mean for my ELD?

November 19, 2021

Mark Schremmer

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Editor’s note: On Friday, Nov. 19, FMCSA issued a reminder to motor carrier to replace or upgrade 3G-reliant ELDS. Read the bulletin here.

Starting in 2022, mobile carriers are ending their 3G networks. That means the time is now for truck drivers to make sure their electronic logging devices remain compliant after the transition.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is reaching out to truckers to make sure they are prepared when carriers start ditching 3G, which is scheduled to start as early as February.

“Mobile carriers are shutting down their 3G networks to make room for more advanced networks, including 5G,” FMCSA wrote in an email on Monday, Nov. 1. “As a result, many older cellphones and other mobile devices will be unable to use data services.

“Once a 3G network is no longer supported, it is highly unlikely that any ELDs that rely on that network will be able to meet the minimum requirements established by the ELD technical specifications, including recording all required data elements and transferring ELD output files.”

Land Line’s John Bendel outlined the problem in the August-September edition of the magazine. In the article, Bendel explains the technology and what the transition to a faster network will mean for truckers and other mobile users. You can find that article here.

How fast the change is coming will depend on which provider you have.

According to FMCSA, the schedule for complete 3G shutdowns are as follows:

  • AT&T: Feb. 22, 2022
  • Sprint (T-Mobile): March 31, 2022
  • Sprint LTE (T-Mobile): June 30, 2022
  • T-Mobile: July 1, 2022
  • Verizon: Dec. 31, 2022

While these are the projected dates for complete shutdowns, mobile carriers are planning to retire parts of their networks sooner. FMCSA also noted that sunset dates are subject to change and advised users to contact their mobile carriers for up-to-date information.

Such carriers as Boost, Cricket and Straight Talk use the AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile networks.

What to do?

First, confirm if your ELD runs on a 3G network. If you are unsure, contact your ELD provider. No action is needed if your device runs on 4G and meets all of the minimum requirements.

“If your ELD relies on a 3G network, ask your ELD provider about their plan for upgrading or replacing your device to one that will be supported after the 3G sunset and complete the necessary actions as soon as possible,” FMCSA wrote.

“FMCSA strongly encourages motor carriers to take the above actions as soon as possible to avoid compliance issues, as portions of carrier 3G networks will be unsupported in advance of the announced sunset dates.”

Any questions about the changes can be emailed to ELD@DOT.gov. LL

Read more about the sunsetting of 3G tech here.

 

WW Williams

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.