Banking on the enduring popularity of 2G networks for M2M services, third-placed US mobile operator Sprint says it is extending its partnership with Swiss-based module provider u-blox as it looks to capitalize on rivals’ plans to migrate all traffic to newer 3G and 4G networks over the next few years.
The operator says the u-blox (Thalwil, Switzerland) agreement will allow business customers concerned about the continuing availability of GSM-based 2G networks to extend the product lifetime of their existing 2G M2M devices by migrating to Sprint’s CDMA network.
The u-blox modems have been tested for compatibility on Sprint’s CDMA 1xRTT network, says the operator, meaning customers are not forced to migrate to more expensive 3G and 4G alternatives for their M2M services.
“Forced migration from 2G GSM to HSPA can now be avoided, given Sprint's commitment to 2G longevity of the CDMA network,” said Nikolaos Papadopoulos, the president of u-blox America.
Sprint (Overland Park, KS, USA) has said that it plans to maintain its 2G network capability for the long term as part of its overall ‘Network Vision” strategy, in contrast with AT&T (Dallas, TX, USA), which has announced plans to shut down its 2G network by 2017, and Verizon Wireless (New York City, NY, USA), which plans to close down both 2G and 3G networks by 2021.
“Now is the opportune time for any customers migrating off GSM or designing new products for telematics, telemetry, automotive and security applications to take advantage of Sprint's 2G platform,” said Wayne Ward, the vice president of Sprint’s M2M Group.
Under its Network Vision plan, Sprint says it will continue to make improvements to 2G coverage, capacity and reliability.
“M2M and other emerging solutions can involve widely varying data transmission speeds,” said the operator in a statement. “Sprint expects to be able to provide all these network platforms for the long haul as part of a continuing portfolio of technology options.”