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AT&T To Discontinue 2G By End of 2016

The future of wireless services is not 2G.

AT&T has made that clear in a regulatory filing, disclosing plans to shut down its 2G network by January 1, 2017.

AT&T, the second-largest U.S. wireless provider behind Verizon Wireless, plans to redeploy spectrum currently allocated for 2G services to support more advanced mobile services on its 3G and 4G networks.

“Throughout this multi-year upgrade process, we will work proactively with our customers to manage the process of moving to 3G and 4G devices, which will help minimize customer churn,” AT&T said.

AT&T noted roughly 12 percent of its postpaid customers were using 2G handsets as of June 30, 2012.

“We do not expect this transition to have a material impact on our operating results,” AT&T said, “but will continue to evaluate the financial impact of transitioning customers from 2G devices to 3G or 4G devices.”

An increasing number of AT&T’s subscribers are accessing faster networks with iPhones and other handsets featuring computing capabilities. Of AT&T’s postpaid subscriber base, 61 percent use smartphones. That figure is up from 49.9 percent a year earlier.

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