Singh (1)

Operators relying on older fleet tracking systems should consider upgrading their technology to avoid “major blackouts” as the UK’s mobile networks begin to phase out 2G, warned one service provider.

In December, the government announced 2G and 3G mobile networks would be phased out by 2033 as part of measures to increase the security of telecoms supply chains and to support a transition to faster technology, such as 5G and eventually 6G.

The ageing 2G network is still used by hundreds of thousands of black box devices to transmit data, but the move to switch it off means it will become obsolete – forcing affected transport firms to swap out the redundant technology and invest in 4G equipment.

And despite the government deadline, some of the UK’s major mobile networks have agreed to close down 2G and 3G long before 2033.

Raj Singh (pictured), MD at vehicle tracking service provider Crystal Ball, said it had contacted customers to ensure they begin upgrading to ensure continuity of service and to future-proof their businesses.

He said: “If you are bringing new vehicles on fleet and are paying for the installation of 2G-based vehicle tracking, that system will need to be changed during the lifecycle of the vehicle, as the network is being phased out and replaced with 4G.

“And any existing vehicles with 2G black boxes will be affected too.

“It means that now is the time to reassess your vehicle tracking system and provider,” Singh added.

“Not doing so could mean a costly retooling further down the line.”

The department for digital, culture, media and sport said individual mobile operators will announce their own deadlines and that the number of consumers relying on 2G and 3G in 2033 was expected to be “very low”.