Electronic Design

Analog Cell Shutdown Affects Other Services

Since analog cellular service has been dying for years as digital service becomes pervasive, the Federal Communications Commission mandated in 2002 that all carriers should cut their analog service on Feb. 18, 2008. AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and Alltel will be turning off their analog networks for good. But the service shutdown affects more than just those with analog cellphones (which, the Associated Press estimates, stands at about 1 million users). Some burgular alarms, in-car response systems, and automated metering systems can be affected, according to the Associated Press. Alarms that use the analog network as a main or backup link may lose their connection to alarm centers. Typically, homes with no wired phone service use analog wireless service. Older cars equipped with OnStar (GM), TeleAid (Mercedes-Benz) and Lexus Link may lose service as well. Cars from these manufacturers from the 2003 model year and older won't be upgradable, but 2004 and 2005 models will be able to receive OnStar upgrades. Finally, automated electricity meter readers and truck fleet tracking devices will need to be upgraded. Alltel and AT&T will also phase out first-generation D-AMPS or TDMA (for Time Division Multiple Access) digital-based networks. AT&T has been phasing out TDMA since 2001.

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