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AT&T 2G Network Officially Shut Down As Carrier's Focus Shifts To 4G, 5G Evolution, And Other Technologies

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A farewell is in order for the aged 2G network.

AT&T is shutting down its 2G network for good, according to new reports. Unfortunate news for users still using the original iPhone, which for sure is now raggedy by current standards. Surely, though, very few phones are still clinging to the aged 2G network. Hence, the move comes as a rational, if somber, move forward.

AT&T Yanks 2G Off Its Services

It's still a possibility, of course, that some users still use the original iPhone, or maybe even the Blackberry Pearl, if only for nostalgia's sake. That, however, stops now, or has indeed already stopped, AT&T has confirmed. As it promised back in 2012, AT&T has now announced that it has officially cut 2G services at the beginning of the year. For phones under AT&T that can only make calls or send messages via GSM and EDGE: tough luck.

The move, which will probably anger a teensy number of people, if not totally zero, is an all-too-organic veer forward for the carrier as it bolsters its 4G and 5G Evolution schtick by-and-by. To be fair, even basic phones today are capable of 3G, so the jettison was only a natural step in its progression.

That said, AT&T has exciting things in store as it moves forward. It'll repurpose the new feed spectrum for LTE, and that stride will in turn create more headroom for 5G wireless. Just as the death of analog cell services paved the way for better technology in its place, the exit of 2G will only benefit the network standards down the road.

The shutdown could also serve as a reminder of just how far mobile data has progressed. In the past, EDGE was the sole baseline for checking email, or browsing light mobile websites via phones that still didn't deserve a "smart" prefix. Nowadays, even downloading a small photo, let alone an app, will be the tallest of tall orders under a 2G network — modern mobile data standards depend on much, much higher speeds. With that mind, one can only prophesize what it would be like when 3G ultimately phases out too in favor of LTE as the mobile data speed standard.

AT&T's 5G Evolution

AT&T says that will lay the groundwork for higher network speeds for the next generation.

"Our 5G Evolution plans will pave the way to the next-generation of higher speeds for customers. We're not waiting until the final standards are set to lay the foundation for our evolution to 5G. We're executing now," said John Donovan AT&T's chief strategy officer and group president for Technology and Operations.

The path to 5G includes a series of lab trials, since AT&T's 5G headway is pretty nascent as of present, but it's moving steadily. The company says that its initial lab trials are already amounting up to 14 Gbps over a wireless connection, so that should give a rough ballpark figure of what it's capable of achieving.

The company's plans include outputting network speeds of up to 1 Gbps in 2017 — at some cell sites, at least. It will then further densify its network by virtue of deployment of small cells, and the use of a technology it calls "carrier aggregations," which is supposed to increase peak data speeds.

Anyone still under a 2G network? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

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