CE Pro October 2021 - 26

Networking+Home Control
SECURITY CORNER
Why Pressure Is Mounting for AT&T
to Postpone 3G Sunset
THERE IS A PRESSING ISSUE APPROACHING that may have
a profound effect on the alarm industry, both for fire alarm
systems as well as intrusion detection and PERS, that integrators
should keep a close eye on: the sunsetting of the 3G
cellular networks. While this is certainly not new news, recent
events have changed the calculus.
The first of the sunsets comes up on the AT&T 3G network,
which is to occur on Feb. 22, 2022. Under normal circumstances,
the conversion of 3G units to 5G units would have
been tight, but most probably achievable.
The year 2020 was hardly normal, and 2021 has brought
with it a new challenge. With COVID-19, entrance to a large
number of locations was denied, both on the commercial and
residential side. With the shortage of integrated circuit chips,
the production of control panels are being delayed.
These events combined may leave a number of 3G units on
the AT&T network unable to be converted by deadline. This
is a concern of a number of providers of fire alarm, intrusion
detection and PERS. This is also a concern of The Monitoring
Association (TMA) and the Alarm Industry Communications
Committee (AICC). The alarm industry has reached out to
AT&T to request that they hold off on the sunset until Dec.
31, 2022, which is the same date that Verizon is set to sunset
their 3G networks.
AT&T has expressed that once the date was set, it would
be difficult to amend due to equipment costs, logistics and
contractual obligations that they have in regards to the 5G
network. In some areas, the 5G network cannot be activated
until the 3G network is down.
The AICC is working on several fronts to compel AT&T to
delay the date until Dec. 31, 2022. A petition for emergency
relief was filed with the FCC on May 10. The relief being
requested is the extension of the AT&T 3G sunset until Dec.
31, 2022. The principal reason for the request is the time lost
during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The petition estimated that there are nearly 6 million 3G
radios that need to be converted prior to the sunset. It mentions
concerns such as: installer unavailability; pandemic-related
alarm resource drain; staffing issues; travel restrictions;
global microchip shortage.
The cellular industry as well has required a delay in the
sunset date. The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet
Association (CTIA) filed a Petition for Waiver on Feb. 12 asking
for a delay due to getting the E911 z-axis location technology
fully deployed. In the petition, CTIA references the
26 | CE Pro October 2021
Even under normal circumstances, the switch from 3G cell
networks to 5G next February would have presented
challenges.
same issue of not being able to gain access into buildings
due to the pandemic. This is for a technology that provides
the location of where a call is being placed from, which is
vital should the caller not be able to provide their location.
The AICC has also lobbied members of Congress. A number
of Senators sent a letter to John Stankey, CEO of AT&T this
past spring, asking a number of questions.
A three-page reply from Timothy P. McKone, executive
vice president - federal relations stated: " In response, customers
have largely transitioned themselves, by upgrading to
LTE and now 5G services and devices. In fact, as of December
31, 2020, only 5 percent of our postpaid subscribers were still
using 3G dependent handsets, and we anticipate that number
will decline substantially by the sunset date. "
The letter goes on the mention the various rate plans
that are available and customers that are not near an AT&T
store have options of how they may update their 3G dependent
device, including free delivery. It does not address the
concern of the industry regarding the ability of being able to
transmit vital signals post-sunset.
There are two trains heading down the same tracks in
opposing directions. Hopefully a switch will be thrown before
there is a collision and loss of life-safety services.
Author SHANE CLARY is vice president of Codes and
Standards Compliance for Concord, Calif.-based Bay Alarm
Company. Column originally appeared in CE Pro sister
publication Security Sales & Integration.
cepro.com
HENRYK SADURA/STOCK.ADOBE.COM
http://www.cepro.com

CE Pro October 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CE Pro October 2021

CE Pro October 2021 - Presentation
CE Pro October 2021 - Cover1
CE Pro October 2021 - Cover2
CE Pro October 2021 - 1
CE Pro October 2021 - 2
CE Pro October 2021 - 3
CE Pro October 2021 - 4
CE Pro October 2021 - 5
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CE Pro October 2021 - Cover3
CE Pro October 2021 - Cover4
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