In a move that is sure to surprise no one, it appears AT&T is getting ready to send its trusty 2G GSM
network riding off into the sunset. MarketWatch
is reporting that some Ma Bell customers have received letters, urging them to upgrade to a 3G or (gasp
) 4G device and warning that service may degrade in some areas as spectrum is repurposed. While the letter stops short of saying the 2G network is being shut down, it seems the writing is on the wall. With the collapse of the T-Mobile acquisition
and Verizon's sizable lead
in the race to acquire spectrum, AT&T is left with little choice but to use its GSM channels for HSPA+ and LTE service. So far the notices have only gone out to customers in the New York metro area, but it seems safe to assume other locales will follow. The only question is whether the carrier will lean on hold-outs the same way it did when the time came to kill off TDMA
-- with a tax on primitive technology.