AT&T has begun shutting down its 2G service in New York to free up spectrum for 3G and 4G customers. The shut down will effect a number of mobile phones that rely on 2G service for voice and data.
If you’re still using an original iPhone that doesn’t support 3G, it isn’t time to worry just yet. At least initially, the AT&T will only be shutting down one of the frequency bands that it uses to provide 2G service. Frequency that is supported by the original iPhone will be maintained for the foreseeable future.
The plan, announced on Wednesday, will end 2G EDGE network support in the New York metro area. AT&T is reallocating the radio spectrum that it uses to provide data service using the older and much slower protocol. That spectrum will be used to shore up AT&T’s HSPA service in the area, which is AT&T’s most densely populated market.
The process will make more frequencies available for AT&T’s 3G and some of its 4G customers. AT&T brands its HSPA+ service as 4G even though the technology is really a faster version of its HSPA 3G service. The iPhone 4S makes use of HSPA+ on AT&T’s network. The added spectrum will reduce congestion and improve performance for all HSPA and HSPA+ customers in and around New York.
The changes don’t involve and won’t affect AT&T’s 4G LTE service in New York as the carrier uses a different frequency band for LTE transmission.
AT&T has been proactively reaching out to customers with 2G-only devices in the New York market and providing free upgrades to 3G handsets.
The move follows similar reallocation efforts by T-Mobile, which plans to shut down its portions of its older network service to make room for LTE. Sprint also announced plans to shut down its former Nextel service as part of its LTE rollout.