Cashless & Mobile Payments

Busting the Myths on the Move from 3G to 4G

November 19, 2020 | By Sarah Iliff

Busting the Myths on the Move from 3G to 4G

At this point, we have all heard the buzz around the cellular carriers shutting down their 3G networks, for the move to the faster, more reliable 4G LTE network. Yes, there is truth to this, however, it’s not going to be a flip of the switch, “panic now!” transition, but rather, a steady move that you should be preparing for now. There is a lot of information regarding the sunset of 3G. Some of this information is accurate, but there is also quite a bit of misinformation, which can be confusing for business owners in ensuring they make smart investment decisions, when it comes to upgrading equipment.

We are here to give you the facts, and uncover the truth, concerning what you really need to know about the move to 4G LTE. 

Myths vs. the Facts

Myth #1:  All 3G devices are sunsetting by the end of 2020.

Fact: This is one of the biggest misconceptions in the market today. Most devices have sunset dates that go through 2021, or even into 2022. The chart below outlines the sunset dates by carrier. The earliest date to be aware of, is for devices that are on Verizon’s Roaming Partner Networks.


Provider


Sunset Dates


Verizon

2G/3G ePort & Seed Devices:
Devices on roaming partner networks: December 31, 2020
Devices on direct Verizon network: December 31, 2021; USAT maintains a direct carrier relationship with Verizon and as such will provide support in the upgrading of customers to 4G LTE beyond 2021.


AT&T

2G ePort & Seed Devices: Already discontinued
3G ePort & Seed Devices: Sunsetting Feb 28, 2022


Eseye

2G ePort Devices:
i. AT&T has already stopped supporting 2G, so all 2G devices shifted (due to ESEYE technology) to T-Mobile network.
ii. T-Mobile is anticipating the sunsetting to begin sometime in 2021 or 2022. We will update this timeline, once confirmation is received from T-Mobile.
3G ePort Devices:
i. T-Mobile will stop supporting 3G devices starting April 1, 2021 (in batches) but once a 3G network stops the devices will seamlessly transfer over to 2G network but will still function with degraded/slower service.


Vodafone

2G Seed Devices:
Movistar-Mexico network sunsetting January 21, 2021


Rogers (Canada)

2G Seed Devices: Sunsetting December 31, 2021
2G ePort Devices: Sunsetting December 31, 2021


Jasper

2G Seed Devices:
i. AT&T has already stopped supporting 2G, so all 2G devices shifted (due to Jasper technology) to T-Mobile network.
ii. T-Mobile is anticipating the sunsetting to begin sometime 2021 or 2022. Once confirmation is received from T-Mobile, we will update this timeline.
3G Seed Devices: AT&T sunsetting February 28, 2022

Myth #2:  All 3G devices must be upgraded by the end of 2020.

Fact:  There is still time to upgrade your devices, since a majority of 3G devices sunset at the end of 2021 or 2022. In an effort to ensure you get the most out of your current investment in the field, we developed a competitive upgrade program that focuses on making it easy to know when, where, and what devices, need to be upgraded. As partners, we want to plan with you to ensure you maximize your investments, and progressively upgrade your older devices. The most important thing is to have a plan in place for the transition. The key is to plan, not panic.

Myth #3:  4G is going to end of life soon.

Fact: 4G is here to stay for the foreseeable future. The deployment and adoption of 5G is five to ten years away, at least. Carriers have confirmed that 4G will be in use, at a minimum, through 2030.  

Myth #4: Unattended retailers, specifically vending operators, should invest in 5G.

Fact: 5G is just beginning to rollout across the United States but it’s really not necessary for small ticket retailers at this point in time. The 5G network is being built for large scale industries, like the healthcare sector, that are conducting cutting-edge surgeries or large-scale streaming services, that need to get copious amounts of content to audiences quickly. If you think about the 4G network, it was initially rolled out in 2010 and didn’t reach full market penetration, until 2017. We believe it will be several years before 5G is the standard.

Myth #5: Not only do I have to upgrade my telemeter to 4G, I am required to upgrade my card reader to accept EMV by April 2021.

Fact:  While no date has officially been published, the networks strongly encourage operators to complete their device upgrades to 4G LTE, as well as EMV enabled. Although card brands have still not enforced any ruling around this, best practice is to consider future proofing your business, and preparing the locations where devices may not be EMV enabled today.

Myth # 6: I’m required to accept both EMV contact and EMV contactless, even in the vending channel.

Fact: In the small ticket market, specifically vending, EMV Chip will not be a required method of payment, as contactless becomes the payment method many consumers across the globe are now choosing. EMV contactless “tap” should be all you need to support the card brands, and your consumers’ move to EMV.

Myth #7: Magnetic stripe “swipe” will no longer work sometime in early 2021.  

Fact: Currently, as reported by Visa, currently there are no specific plans in place to eliminate the magnetic stripe from the physical cards. (1) In fact, mag-stripe is the failsafe option for when EMV enabled cards do not work at a machine. Based on the fact that there is no published date or information from card brands, we believe that mag-stripe will continue to be made available on physical credit/debit cards.

Myth #8: Limited cashless providers offer EMV enabled card readers.

Fact: USAT has two EMV enabled cashless kit solutions available to customers today. The ePort G10-S Cashless Kit, is EMV contactless enabled; and the ePort G10-Chip Cashless Kit is both EMV contact and contactless. USAT is always looking at ways to provide operators with the most advanced technology in the market, in order to meet consumer needs. In fact, USAT deployed a free “over the air upgrade” to over 250,000 ePort devices in the field, to start accepting EMV contactless in February/March 2020.  


Resources:

  1. https://usa.visa.com/dam/VCOM/regional/na/us/run-your-business/documents/chip-payment-acceptance-putting-it-into-perspective-for-small-ticket-unattended-merchants.pdf

Author

Sarah Iliff

Partner Marketing Manager

With 10+ years of experience in sales & marketing, Sarah has a passion for connecting with customers and building strong relationships within the industry. Her experience is within the media and technology sector where she focuses on B2B customer marketing, building strong partner marketing programs to expand product reach and connecting with new prospects.

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