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FMCSA warns carriers on ELD data-services shutdown

Devices that rely on sunsetting 3G networks will fall out of compliance

Carriers must verify ELDs will be supported by mobile network upgrades. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves).

Federal regulators are attempting to head off ELD violations by urging carriers to plan ahead for the shutdown of third-generation (3G) mobile technology by major cellular companies.

Wireless providers such as AT&T and T-Mobile are phasing out 3G to make space for 5G. ELDs that are only compatible with 3G will no longer be able to transmit data to the back office or roadside law enforcement — effectively rendering the ELDs obsolete and eventually landing them on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Revoked ELDs list.

“FMCSA strongly encourages motor carriers to take … 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,” the agency warned on Monday.

“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. 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 sunset.”

FMCSA said that trucking companies should contact their ELD providers to confirm whether their ELDs rely on 3G. If they do, “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.”

FMCSA noted that when a truck is in an area that does not support 3G, an ELD relying on 3G will register a malfunction. Unless the agency grants the carrier an extension, the company has eight days to replace the ELD with one that is compatible with 5G.

The agency listed the following dates when carriers planned to complete their 3G sunset (parts of their networks may be retired sooner):

  • AT&T 3G: Feb. 22, 2022.
  • Sprint 3G (T-Mobile): March 31, 2022.
  • Sprint LTE (T-Mobile): June 30, 2022.
  • T-Mobile 3G: July 1, 2022.
  • Verizon 3G: Dec. 31, 2022.

Many other carriers, such as Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk, and several Lifeline mobile service providers, utilize the AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile networks and will also be affected, FMCSA said.

Complicating the issue further is the current global shortage of microchips, which are used in trucks’ internal technology platforms. In addition to affecting new truck orders, the shortage is affecting the manufacturing of products such as ELDs, said Dave Heller, Truckload Carriers Association vice president.

“This could result in ELD providers running short on the devices carriers need to make the switch away from 3G to new 5G-compliant devices,” Heller said.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.


  1. Robert L Hassell

    The government will give extensions to vote, extend taxes, delay mortgages, rent and other bills during the covid crisis and shipping problems but God forbid you help those who deliver your products. I have tried for 4 months to get a 4g eld that I know will do what I need and last in my truck for years. I don’t want to just buy a stop gap eld. Computer chips are the issue. China is choking us off.

  2. Christopher Criss

    Need to lift the DOT regulations to get this country back in line with supply chain screw up,,Trump did it during covid but bidon is to stupid to do it because he an idiot and in bed with china

    1. Mark stack

      3g ok but you said about 5g . There is no 5g and if they don’t fix the problems that have acured there will never be 5g this is fact . The cell companies ALL know this. So I have a question how are people running 2 ends or unplugging the and escaping dot and getting away with it 🤔

Comments are closed.

John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.