The shutdown of the 3G network in the UK – What about my Motorcycle tracker now?
This article explains how to find out which network your GPS tracker is and what happens when that network gets switched off. It also explains the 3G network and the reason behind its imminent shutdown.
What is the 3G network, and why is it being shut down?
The 3G network, also known as the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS), is the third-generation mobile network. This network has been in use in Germany since 2003. For the first time, it was possible to send large amounts of data quickly. Over time, however, the demand for increased smartphones led to the introduction of a new network, the 4G network, also known as Long Term Evolution (LTE).
This is now also the decisive point why the mobile phone providers have now switched off the last 3G masts since the end of 2021. These radio masts are then used for the conversion to newer networks, such as the 4G and 5G networks.
What network does my GPS tracker use?
This question is not unjustified, as it is quite possible that your GPS devices will still work even though the network in the UK has already been switched off. This is due to neighboring countries, where network reception naturally does not stop at the border. The best way to find out which network your device uses is to look at the operating instructions for your device. Here you will usually find the information under the technical details. Search for the keyword “network” or “connection” here. Here is a brief overview of the various networks.
GSM = (Global System for Mobile Communications) 2G
UMTS = (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) 3G
LTE = (Long Term Evolution) 4G
When does it make sense to switch to a new network?
You are probably wondering whether your devices are future-proof or whether you should make the switch now. To give you an overview, we have listed the following cases here.
If your device still works via GSM:
You have a device with the 2nd generation network standard. These devices can still be used in the UK until 2025 without any problems.
What you should pay attention to here, however, is that neighboring countries such as Switzerland have already completely switched off the 2G network.
If your device works via UMTS:
You have a 3rd generation device. You should promptly look around for new alternatives since the 3G network is no longer supported in Germany. Devices will thus completely lose their function and can no longer be used.
If your device works over LTE:
You have a 4th generation device. You don’t need to worry about switching. Your devices are technically state-of-the-art.
In general, it is good to find out about an upcoming change as early as possible. One reason why it may be worth switching now or investing in a 4G GPS tracker can be as follows. If the 2G network were to be switched off earlier, the demand for the devices would be high, which is why availability often cannot be guaranteed.