Medical, Home Alarm Industries Warn Of Major Outages As AT&T Shuts Down 3G Network, warns Techdirt

From Techdirt:

It was only 2009 that AT&T heralded its cutting edge 3G network as it unveiled the launch of the iPhone (which subsequently crashed AT&T’s cutting edge 3G network). Fast forward a little more than a decade and AT&T is preparing to shut that 3G network down, largely so it can repurpose the spectrum it utilizes for fifth-generation (5G) wireless deployments. While the number of actual wireless phone users still using this network is minimal, the network is still being heavily used as a connectivity option for some older medical devices and home alarm systems.

As such, the home security industry is urging regulators to delay the shutdown to give them some more time to migrate home security users on to other networks:

If you recall, part of the T-Mobile Sprint merger conditions involved trying to make a viable fourth wireless carrier out of Dish Network (that’s generally not going all that well). T-Mobile’s ongoing feud with Dish has resulted in T-Mobile keeping its 3G network alive a bit longer than AT&T. So the alarm industry is asking both the FCC and AT&T for a little more time, as well as some help migrating existing home security gear temporarily on to T-Mobile’s 3G network so things don’t fall apart when AT&T shuts down its 3G network (currently scheduled for February 22).

AT&T gave companies whose technology still use 3G three full years to migrate to alternative solutions. And it’s not entirely clear how many companies, services, and industries will be impacted by the shut down. But there’s an awful lot of different companies and technologies that still use 3G for internet connectivity, including a lot of fairly important medical alert systems. Nobody seems to actually know how prepared we truly are, so experts suggest the problems could range anywhere from mildly annoying to significantly disruptive:

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