Vodafone’s announcement that its 3G operations will cease in New Zealand from late August 2024 has brought to light an extensive programme of preparation that Smartrak has been engaged in. For the last 18 months, our Product Development and Customer Success teams have been pursuing a 4G transition strategy that will enable our customers to experience a successful transition.
Our efforts have focussed on three areas that will be critical to maintaining business and operational continuity for our customers, during the transition and beyond.
- Identifying, testing, and approving suitable 4G replacements for current 3G technologies.
- Enabling a seamless transition between 3 and 4G solutions.
- Developing a roadmap that ensures our customers can take full advantage of the new capabilities available with the 4G upgrade.
We will also be engaging with our customers throughout 2023 to help them prepare for the transition. Through a combination of general information releases and targeted engagement via the Customer Success Managers, Smartrak will ensure that all customers are fully informed and equipped to develop successful transition plans.
The transition to 4G is an exciting development and we want our customers to be in a position where they will see the benefits 4G brings to fleet management and safety.
4G offers a substantial improvement in data speed. 4G stands for fourth generation, and it’s a step-change in cellular capabilities that will make everything faster and smoother. In fact, 4G is 500 times faster than 3G, making support for high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing and other data-heavy solutions easier and quicker. For our customers, this also means better connectivity when a device is communicating from a moving vehicle, for instance.
4G opens up an exciting future of possibilities, with expanded capabilities for telematics solutions. Video capture of the events leading up to a vehicle accident, or video monitoring of drivers to identify fatigued driving or smoking in the vehicle are all opportunities that can be more easily realised with 4G.
4G offers network confidence with excellent connectivity in urban zones. And for those rare instances where 4G does not match 3G in some areas there’s the new Nextrak device, which automatically falls back to 2G when 4G coverage drops out. Taken as a combined offering, 4G/2G coverage is actually better than current 3G, and if there are issues in remote areas Smartrak will recommend deploying satellite or dual cellular/satellite solutions.
Introducing the AVL 4G and Nextrak
Suitable 4G replacements for existing 3G AVLs have been identified and tested, with the AVL 4G and Nextrak undergoing field tests on both sides of the Tasman. This has involved extensive journey testing across the North Island and a three-week deployment with Melbourne’s public transport bus network.
Identifying suitable replacement devices has been a key element in ensuring a seamless system transition for customers as they swap from 3G devices to 4G.
Developing your fleet’s 4G Transition Plan
Through 2023, Smartrak will be releasing information and support to help our customers develop their 4G transition plans. We understand that every fleet is different with regards to the devices deployed (tracking devices, personal safety devices, etc.) and that the 4G Transition Plan for your fleet needs to be a bespoke document. The information we are producing will take this into account. Smartrak’s Help Desk will also be fully engaged in helping customers through the transition, as will our Customer Success Managers.
A FAQ sheet has been prepared to cover any immediate questions you may have; it can be downloaded here. Alternatively, you can talk to your Customer Success Manager or submit any questions via the contact us form below.