AT&T Turns Off 2G Network, Disconnecting Original iPhones, with Plans to Repurpose Spectrum for ‘Future Network Technologies’

By Paul Riegler on 17 January 2017
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AT&T is sunsetting its 2G network.

AT&T is sunsetting its 2G network.


AT&T said it had completed its previously announced shutdown of its 2G GSM and EDGE voice and data networks on January 1, 2017.

The move impacts older mobile devices including the original iPhone. The mobile operator said that its current 3G and 4G networks 99% of users in the United States.

“By shutting down our 2G network, this frees up more spectrum for future network technologies, including 5G,” the company said in a statement.

GSM, or Global System for Mobile Communications, is a standard developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute in the 1980s to provide blanket coverage between European nations. It was a replacement for first generation analog networks and was expanded to support data as well, first via GPRS (General Packet Radio Services and later via EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution).

Mobile operators such as AT&T and T-Mobile started using GSM in the United States in the early 1990s, succeeding analog networks which were retroactively named 1G.

Verizon has announced plans to shut down its 2G CDMA 1X network by the end of 2019, while T-Mobile USA said its 2G network would continue to operate through 2020.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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