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FMCSA Warns 3G ELDs Will Soon Be Obsolete

By January 31, 2022February 3rd, 2022No Comments

By Nick Hillesheim, TVC Pro-Driver Chief Sales Officer

Warning, fleet managers — your ELDs that rely on third generation (3G) network services will soon stop working! Major cellular providers are planning on moving to fifth generation (5G) network services in 2022, rendering 3G unusable. In a nutshell, the shift to more advanced network services means ELDs reliant on 3G networks will be unable to use data services.

DO NOT WAIT until the last minute to update your devices. You will risk costly hours-of-service violations and put your drivers at risk. See below for more information from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on how to efficiently prepare your fleet for the switch to 5G.

  • Once a 3G network is no longer supported, it is highly unlikely ELDs that rely on that network will meet the minimum requirements established by the ELD Technical Specifications, including recording all required data elements and transferring ELD output files.
  • Any ELD that requires 3G cellular connectivity to perform its functionality will no longer be in compliance with the technical specifications in the ELD rule after the 3G network it relies on is sunset.
  • When in an area that does not support 3G, a 3G device will register a malfunction. When this occurs, the driver has eight days to get the malfunction resolved or find a replacement device, unless an extension is granted.

As a fleet manager, it’s important you alert your drivers on what to do to avoid possible hours-of-service violations. First, they should confirm whether their ELD relies on a 3G network. If they’re not sure, they can contact their ELD provider. If their ELD does rely on a 3G network, then they should ask their ELD provider about their plan for upgrading or replacing their device.

The FMCSA recommends taking action as soon as possible to avoid compliance issues. See below for announced sunset dates — but keep in mind that these dates are for completing the shutdowns. Mobile carriers plan to retire parts of their networks sooner. These dates are also subject to change, so drivers should contact their mobile carriers for the most up-to-date information.

  • AT&T 3G: February 22, 2022
  • Sprint 3G (T-Mobile) March 31, 2022
  • Sprint LTE (T-Mobile): June 30, 2022
  • T-Mobile 3G: July 1, 2022
  • Verizon 3G: December 31, 2022
  • Many carriers, including Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk and several Lifeline mobile service providers, utilize the AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile networks.

TVC has our members’ backs. We stay on top of news and trends to protect fleets’ bottom lines. If you have questions about the 5G rollout, we recommend contacting ELD@dot.gov.