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FMCSA warns carriers about 3G network sunset

In a recent email to industry stakeholders, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) warned motor carriers of the impending shut down of 3G mobile networks and the impact this might have on their electronic logging devices (ELDs). In its email, the agency explained:

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 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. 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 after the 3G network it relies on is sunset.When in an area that does not support 3G, a 3G device will register a malfunction. In accordance with 49 CFR 395.34, the carrier has 8 days to get the malfunction resolved, in this case by replacement, unless an extension is granted.

Thus far, the top mobile providers have announced the following 3G sunset dates:

  • AT&T 3G: Feb. 22, 2022

  • Sprint (T-Mobile) 3G: March 31, 2022

  • Sprint LTE (T-Mobile): June 30, 2022

  • T-Mobile 3G: July 1, 2022

  • Verizon 3G: Dec. 31, 2022

In light of these shutdowns, the FMCSA is advising carriers to contact their ELD providers to confirm (1) if their platform relies on the 3G network, and if so (2) how the ELD provider plans to upgrade or replace their devices. "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."

Read the full FMCSA email at this link:

3G sunset and ELDs
Download PDF • 69KB

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