Have you made any plans for the year 2017 yet? Well AT&T has, as it's revealed that it plans to shut down its 2G network by 2017. That information comes from an SEC filing made by the carrier today, in which AT&T explains that it plans to redeploy its 2G spectrum to be used with its 3G and 4G networks in order to help improve network performance and address the need for more spectrum capacity. AT&T expects the shutdown to occur around January 1, 2017, and it says that during the process of discontinuing that network, it'll "proactively" work with its 2G network customers to move them to 3G and 4G service. As of June 30, 2012, around 12 percent of AT&T's postpaid subscribers were using 2G handsets.
AT&T has been working to build out its 4G LTE network in recent months, and has also been working to acquire more spectrum to meet its 4G needs. Considering that, and the dwindling number of customers with 2G devices, it makes sense that the carrier would want to refarm some of that 2G spectrum for use with its 3G and 4G networks. T-Mobile is involved in a similar process, refarming its 2G 1900MHz spectrum to be used for its HSPA+ service. As for those AT&T 2G customers, a spokesperson for the carrier said that there's no strategy in place to get them upgraded just yet, but I'm sure that AT&T will come up with some sort of incentive. Anyone interest in poring over AT&T's full SEC filing to help prep for the weekend can find the document right here.