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Navigating the 3G Network Shutdown: Guidance for RockAIR Users

At TracPlus, we understand the investment you've made, this blog aims to demystify the 3G shutdown and guide you through what this means for your RockAIR devices.

Introduction

As technology continues to evolve, so too does the landscape of cellular networks. A significant change is underway globally – the shutdown of 3G networks. For users of RockAIR 3G tracking devices, this shift might raise concerns about the future of your device's connectivity. At TracPlus, we understand the investment you've made in our technology. This blog aims to demystify the 3G shutdown and guide you through what this means for your RockAIR devices.

Understanding the 3G Shutdown

The transition from 3G to more advanced 4G and 5G network technologies is a significant global trend, reflecting the continual advancement in telecommunications. In the United States, this shift is essentially complete, which may lead to inconsistent performance for devices that are not LTE-capable. In contrast, the timeline for this transition varies in regions like New Zealand and Australia.

For Australian users, the phase-out of 3G services is scheduled to occur progressively through 2023 and 2024, a year ahead of New Zealand. This means that by the end of 2024, the reliance on 3G networks in Australia will significantly decrease. In New Zealand, the complete shutdown of 3G networks is anticipated by the end of 2025.

While our RockAIR 3G devices are equipped with multi-carrier SIM cards that offer a level of adaptability amidst these network changes, understanding this regional variation in shutdown timelines is crucial. This knowledge will help RockAIR users anticipate and prepare for potential variations in coverage and connectivity, ensuring continuous and reliable operations during this transitional period.

Impact on RockAIR Devices

RockAIR 3G devices currently relies on a combination of 3G GSM and Iridium satellite networks. With the phasing out of 3G services, there will be an increased reliance on satellite transmissions. This means that while you might still experience reliable coverage in many areas, there could be instances of fluctuating connectivity as the 3G networks wind down. Our RockAIR devices are equipped with multi-carrier SIM cards, providing a cushion against immediate impacts of the 3G shutdown. This feature allows your device to switch between available carriers, maintaining connectivity even as individual 3G networks are phased out.

Identifying Signs of 3G Network Changes

As the 3G network shutdown progresses, it's important for RockAIR users to recognize the signs of these changes in their area. One key indicator is an increase in the proportion of satellite messages compared to cellular messages, especially in areas where cellular coverage was previously strong. Here's what to look out for:

  • Increased Satellite Messages: You might notice longer intervals between location reports. This is because, while cellular updates occur every 15 seconds, the default for satellite is every 2 minutes. An increase in satellite messages indicates reduced cellular connectivity.
  • Impact on Airtime Plan Allowance: With more reliance on satellite transmission, the number of satellite messages sent will increase. This could lead to a faster depletion of your plan's satellite message allowance. For instance, the Echo plan includes 500 satellite messages, which under normal operation are rarely used due to cellular coverage offsetting the need. However, as 3G service diminishes, you may see an increase in satellite usage.
  • Potential Overage Fees: Increased satellite message usage might lead to exceeding your plan's allowance, resulting in overage fees. This is something to monitor closely as the transition from 3G continues.

It's important to note that the RockAIR will still function effectively post-3G shutdown. The device is designed to seamlessly switch to satellite transmission when cellular coverage is not available. However, this shift could impact how you utilise your airtime plan.

Future-Proofing with LTE RockAIR

As the telecommunications industry evolves, ensuring that our technology keeps pace is a priority for us at TracPlus. Recognising this, we introduced the LTE model of RockAIR at the end of 2022. Designed to be compatible with 4G networks, this model offers continued connectivity and cellular performance akin to what you've come to expect, seamlessly aligning with the ongoing network transitions.

We understand that the shift to newer network technologies may not have seemed urgent initially. However, as the 3G shutdown progresses, the relevance of this upgrade becomes increasingly apparent. Our goal is to facilitate a smooth and cost-effective transition for our users.

Conclusion

At TracPlus, we are committed to keeping you informed and ahead of technological changes. The 3G network shutdown is a significant milestone in cellular technology, but with our guidance and your RockAIR device's capabilities, you can navigate this transition confidently. We're here to support you every step of the way, ensuring your operations remain uninterrupted and efficient.

If you notice these changes, it doesn't necessarily mean an immediate upgrade to the LTE model is required. The RockAIR will continue to perform its critical tracking functions. We at TracPlus are committed to working with you to review your current plans and usage. For some users, especially those comfortable with 2-minute tracking intervals, transitioning to a plan with a higher satellite message allowance could be a more suitable solution.

We understand that every user has unique needs, and our aim is to provide options that best fit your operational requirements while ensuring uninterrupted, reliable service.

CONTACT US

For more information on the 3G network shutdown and to discuss upgrading your RockAIR device to the LTE model, talk to our Sales team today.

Our team is ready to provide the support and solutions you need to stay connected and operational.

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