AT&T will end-of-line 2G EDGE network by 2017

AT&T will end-of-line 2G EDGE network by 2017

AT&T has announced that, come 2017, they'll be hitting the off switch on their 2G EDGE network. That's the network the original iPhone used when it launched in June of 2007, and was bound to until the iPhone 3G launched roughly a year later in 2008. Thomas Gryta reports for the Wall Street Journal:

The telecom giant said about 12% of its contract wireless customers, or roughly 8.4 million people, were using 2G handsets at the end of June, but it will work "proactively" in coming years to move them to more advanced devices. Like the other major carriers, AT&T's customers mostly use phones with third-generation technology, and it is aggressively rolling out a nationwide fourth-generation network.

The next generation iPhone 5 is expected to run on 4G LTE networks, as well as HSPA+ and legacy CDMA networks. The least technologically advanced iPhone that Apple continues to sell, the iPhone 3GS runs on 3G HSPA 7.2. Unlike modern networks, 2G EDGE doesn't handle simultaneous voice and data, but it does still pick up connectivity when faster HSPA networks fail to connect.

Hopefully by 2017 LTE failing back to 3G will be the new 3G failing back to 2G. Anyone here still stuck on EDGE?

Source: Wall Street Journal

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

AT&T will end-of-line 2G EDGE network by 2017


Re: "Anyone here still stuck on EDGE?"

Several times a day my iPhone 4 does the fail-over to EDGE. I use "Mark the Spot" to tell AT&T that there's a problem, then sometimes my signal improves for a while. It of course then gradually deteriorates over weeks until I'm dropping calls and failing over to EDGE all over again.

F-ing AT&T.

My town is still on EDGE, and as of yet has not been upgraded to 3G. And its BAD Edge too, worse than 56K modem, if it works at all. 3G is getting closer to the area, but if AT&T doesn't have 3G here before the next iPhone is released, I am going to seriously think about switching to Verizon.

I really like having the option of EDGE because it's really not all that much slower than HSPA for me and I like the double battery life. Even if battery technology gets more advanced, it would be cool to fall back onto EDGE (since I wont be using LTE for the next year – or until it isn't terrible) and get AMAZING battery life :D

This is a network with a plan for the future. They know what they want and are pushing to get it done. Cannot wait to switch from sprint to At&T. Superior network, Superior phones, Superior logo at&t TAKE MY MONEY!!!!

If it means reclaiming spectrum to use for 3G and/or LTE (And if they can transition all current EDGE only areas over to 3G), I'd prefer they do it sooner. Mobile technology moves fast; keeping older tech around just to appease a minority seems inefficient.

There's about 1 mile radius area near me where AT&T's 3G signal is horrendous. I don't know why since the surrounding areas are great. In that area, I frequently drop down to 2G, especially when inside buildings. I've use the Mark The Spot app there for over a year, but it hasn't gotten any better.

There's a pretty large population center near where I live, in the SF East Bay, where there isn't even EDGE reception. I get 0 bars sometimes. Huge shopping area, dozens of restaurants, malls, and all that suburban clutter. It's not out in the wilderness.

Must be a Verizon town. Must be lots of Verizon towns out there. Seriously.

Are they saying they are finally going to upgrade all those cell sites that are in rural USA like about 70% of my trip back to my parent's house or are they just going to turn them off and I'll have no service at all. The latter sounds like what AT&T would actually do.