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FMCSA Advises Carriers to Upgrade or Replace Data Loggers that Use 3G Networks


Nov. 3, 2021 – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is advising carriers to check whether their electronic logging devices operate on 3G networks.

A recent notice from FMCSA advises that many mobile carriers will soon shut down 3G networks to make room for more advanced network services, including 5G.

The federal agency is advising companies that use 3G electronic logging devices to check what actions they need to take to make sure drivers are using compliant ELDs.

“Mobile carriers are shutting down their 3G networks to make room for more advanced network services, including 5G. As a result, many older cell phones and other mobile devices will be unable to use data services,” said the FMCSA notice.

Once a 3G network is no longer supported, it is highly unlikely that any ELDs that rely on that network will be able to meet the minimum requirements established by the ELD technical specifications, including recording all required data elements and transferring ELD output files, the notice said.

Here are other points from the FMCSA notice.

Therefore, any ELD that requires 3G cellular connectivity to perform its functionality will no longer be in compliance with the technical specifications in the ELD rule after the 3G network it relies on is shutdown.

When in an area that does not support 3G, a 3G device will register a malfunction. In accordance with 49 CFR 395.34, the carrier has 8 days to get the malfunction resolved, in this case by replacement, unless an extension is granted.

The announced sunset dates are below.* These are dates for completing the shutdowns. Mobile carriers are planning to retire parts of their networks sooner.

AT&T 3G: February 22, 2022

Sprint 3G (T-Mobile): March 31, 2022

Sprint LTE (T-Mobile): June 30, 2022

T-Mobile 3G: July 1, 2022

Verizon 3G: December 31, 2022

Note: Many other carriers, such as Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk, and several Lifeline mobile service providers, utilize the AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile networks.

*Sunset dates are subject to change. Contact your mobile carrier for up-to-date information.

What actions do motor carriers need to take?

Confirm whether your ELD relies on a 3G network

If you are unsure if your ELD relies on a 3G network, contact your ELD provider. If your ELD does not rely on 3G, and meets all minimum requirements, no further action is needed.

Ask your provider for their upgrade or replacement plan

If your ELD relies on a 3G network, ask your ELD provider about their plan for upgrading or replacing your device to one that will be supported after the 3G sunset, and complete the necessary actions as soon as possible.

The earliest announced sunset completion date is February 22, 2022. See all announced dates listed above and plan accordingly to avoid service disruptions and compliance issues. FMCSA strongly encourages motor carriers to take the above actions as soon as possible to avoid compliance issues, as portions of carrier 3G networks will be unsupported in advance of the announced sunset dates.

For more information, contact ELD@dot.gov.

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