The clock is winding down on 3G

I’m sure that many people with fleet management responsibilities will already be looking at a year that’s full of tasks. There’s EV adoption and the transition to more sustainable operations, the ever-present demand to achieve more with available resources, and a host of management responsibilities to do with employees, ranging from driver behaviour to managing them more efficiently.  

With a potential roster of new initiatives and old challenges that’s already looking daunting adding another topic to your list may be unwelcome. But this is something that absolutely has to be on your radar. 

In August 2024, Vodafone will cease 3G operations in New Zealand.

In Australia it's happening in June 2024.

This means that any telematics devices on the 3G network will no longer be supported. August next year seams a long way off but consider the ducks that need to be in a row to ensure a seamless transition. Firstly, you need to make sure your telematics supplier has a strategy for the 4G transition, including sourcing, testing and approving suitable replacements. Talk to them now to find out what their strategy is. 

You are also going to have to factor in that lots of fleets will be looking to get replacement devices at the same time. This could potentially create a logistical and product supply logjam, particularly if too many fleets leave their transition to the last minute. 

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. 

  1. Identifying, testing, and approving suitable 4G replacements for current 3G technologies. 
  1. Enabling a seamless transition between 3 and 4G solutions. 
  1. 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. 

Benefits of upgrading to 4G

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. 

We're ready to help you switch to 4G

The fantastic news is that we've been preparing for the 3G shutdown for more than a year. We've done the research and testing required to find suitable 4G replacements for our existing solutions. We've put hardware through an exhaustive test, including multi-hour round trips in some of NZ's notorious coverage black spots.

Our entire solution suite is now 4G compatible. If you're an existing customer that still has old 3G hardware, get in touch with us today to start the process of upgrading to 4G. And if you've recently purchased hardware from us, you're already 4G future proofed.

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. Download it here. Alternatively, if you're a Smartrak customer, you can talk to one of our Customer Success Managers directly for more information. 

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