The National Phaseout of 3G Has Begun
ASHE has become aware that, effective on February 22, 2022, AT&T shut down its 3G services. T-Mobile (Sprint 3G backbone) will be deactivated on June 20, 2022 and T-Mobile (remaining 3G backbone) will be deactivated by July 1, 2022. Verizon began the retirement of its 3G network late last year and plans to completely retire the system by the end of 2022.
For facilities that use these service provider cellular communicators within their fire alarm system, this phaseout may result in the fire alarm system no longer communicating properly, causing a trouble indication within the fire alarm panel.
All facilities should verify if their fire alarm systems use a cellular communicator. If their fire alarm systems do use a cellular communicator, facilities should take the following steps:
- Check if there is a “comm loss,” “communication failure,” or other similar language on the fire alarm panel.
- If there is, then three steps you should take are:
- Establish a fire watch to assure that communication of any alarms from the fire alarm system to the first responders is performed appropriately.
- Work with your local authorities to approve and make them aware of your fire watch plan.
- Establish a plan to replace the current communicator.
- If there isn’t a comm loss, verify that the current communicator will continue to work after the other services are deactivated.
- Coordination with the fire alarm service provider and communication service provider will be necessary throughout this process.
- Facilities should verify other cellular communication devices on other systems such as building automation systems and verify that these will not be impacted by the deactivation of 3G services.