Mobile carriers are shutting down their 3G networks to make room for more advanced network services, including 5G. As a result, many older cell phones and other mobile devices may not connect to data services, including electronic logging devices.
Once cellular carriers no longer support 3G networks, any electronic logging devices that rely on those networks will likely fail to meet the minimum requirements established by federal ELD technical specifications. This includes recording all required data elements and transferring ELD output files, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Therefore, any ELD that requires 3G cellular connectivity to perform its functionality will no longer be in compliance with the technical specifications in the ELD rule.. When in an area that does not support 3G, a 3G device will register a malfunction. In accordance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, the carrier has eight days to get the malfunction resolved, in this case by replacement, unless the FMCSA grants an extension.
The announced 3G sunset dates are below but are subject to change. These dates mark the complete shutdown for each network. Mobile carriers are planning to retire parts of their even networks sooner.
- AT&T 3G: Feb. 22, 2022
- Sprint 3G (T-Mobile): March 31, 2022
- Sprint LTE (T-Mobile): June 30, 2022
- T-Mobile 3G: July 1, 2022
- Verizon 3G: Dec. 31, 2022
Many other carriers, such as Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk, and several other mobile service providers, use the AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile networks.
What actions do motor carriers need to take?
Confirm whether your ELD relies on a 3G network. If unsure, contact your ELD provider. If your ELD relies on 4G or 5G for connectivity, and meets all minimum requirements, no further action is needed. However, even if your communication devices are 4G- or 5G-compatible, ask your provider if there are settings to optimize their performance now that 3G is sunsetting.
If your ELD relies on a 3G network, ask your ELD provider about their plan for upgrading or replacing your device to one that it will support after the 3G sunset, and to complete the necessary actions as soon as possible.
The earliest announced sunset completion date is Feb. 22, 2022. Pay attention to the announced dates listed above and plan accordingly to avoid service disruptions and compliance issues.
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.