5G for trucking carriers: Time to think about moving

5G for trucking carriers means that if you haven’t already, it’s time to think about moving your telematics to the newer networks.

The gradual sunsetting of cellular company support for aging 3G networks means millions of devices must move from 3G to 5G networks as cellular companies transition equipment and support to newer, faster networks. If you’re a transportation manager, learning about the coming changes is essential since:

  • Verizon is switching over on December 31, 2022.
  • AT&T is turning its 3G network off in February 2022.
  • T-Mobile has IDed several 2022 dates for changing over the various networks they manage.
  • In the Canadian market, devices will continue to operate on the 3G 850 MHz network, but after June 7, 2021, the 3G 1900 MHz network will no longer be available.
  • About 70% of carriers cross borders into Mexico and Canada and will need to make sure that their devices work cross-border.

There are plenty more reasons to think now about transitioning. Chip shortages are creating long lead times for new devices. And there’s obsolescence dead ahead: Those with older phones, or basic “feature” phones, will no longer be able to use them. In addition, millions of vehicles with 3G systems will no longer run alarms, security cameras, and other devices.

5G for trucking carriers: How to get ready for the impact on your many critical devices

How can you master 5G to be sure you’re maximizing the technologies that help you run your business, like telematics, GPS, and electronic logging devices (ELDs)? Consider this:

More data than ever

The use of telematics, GPS tracking technology, and ELDs mean the trucking industry is producing more data than ever.

As you upgrade to 5G, each network node can support many more devices, with significantly faster average download speeds and far lower latency, so you’ll be able to share far more data in real-time.

Navigation systems

While many vehicles have 3G technology for their navigation systems and will lose this feature, businesses with fleets of trucks and delivery vehicles have an extension of several years.


You’ll want to look at what technologies the market offers and see if there are superior technologies. Does your hardware play well with hours-of-service (HOS) restrictions? Communicate to your TMS?

With 5G, you should look for faster, more responsive networks even in highly populated areas for better fleet-wide communication between drivers, managers, and customers. 5G for trucking carriers increases fleet safety, efficiency, and visibility into operations by facilitating instant connection from fleet managers to drivers regardless of location. You’ll also experience quicker data transfers across fleet vehicles and applications. Better data transfer capability allows superior sensors, AI, maintenance alerts, vehicle diagnostics, analytics, and live streaming. 5G connects all your fleet vehicles, equipment, hand-helds, and other fleet asset devices via the fastest available network.


With faster ELD data available, you will turn near real-time data into insights to fuel operational improvements. Instant data streams from smartphones, tablets, GPS, and connected equipment can also empower smarter decision-making.

Suppose you’re already using telematics to comply with ELD mandates. In that case, you’ll have “richer” data to optimize your fleet performance with features like active tracking, which provides live vehicle position data to fleet managers. You’ll be able to reach drivers in real-time, for example, to reroute them based on up-to-the-minute data on shipment and weather conditions. 5G also supports better engine diagnostic data, giving fleet operators tools to develop better productivity strategies.

Make sure the data is compatible

Keep in mind that if you currently have 3G and are upgrading hardware, you’ll need to make sure the data from your devices are compatible with the cloud. 

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