Haven’t heard from your non-techy friends or family members in a couple of weeks? If they’re AT&T subscribers with dated mobile devices, there may have a solid explanation for the radio silence.
The nation’s second largest wireless service provider recently revealed that it discontinued service on its 2G wireless networks on January 1, 2017. That's bad news if you still use a legacy device like Apple's original iPhone.
As AT&T correctly points out, technologies like smartphones, social media and wirelessly connected devices are responsible for dramatically reshaping the network landscape.
Data usage on AT&T’s network alone has grown by a staggering 250,000 percent since 2007, the company said, with video being the most significant contributor to the sudden growth. That’s only part of the equation, however, as the demand for wireless data outpaced the capabilities of even 3G long ago.
Indeed, when you consider that the first 2G network went live in 1991, it’s amazing that they’ve persisted as long as they did.
AT&T said the move will free up spectrum for newer technologies (here's look at you, 5G) to support the massive growth in mobile Internet usage.
The decision shouldn’t come as a total surprise considering the telecom announced and reiterated its intentions to shut down the dated network more than four years ago. At that time, the wireless provider said that only 12 percent of its "contract" subscribers were using 2G handsets.
Taking it a step further, AT&T even offered discounts and free devices to eligible customers to help with the transition.