Seven Things You Need To Know To Execute the 4G Transition
Back in August we asked PERS Insiders to tell us when they were planning on completing their 3G to 4G migration: 75% of you said you’re aiming for the first half of 2021, while the other 25% are looking to complete it during the second half of next year.
At the MAMA annual conference in September we heard from three industry experts who discussed the 3G sunset and shared advice on the transition including best practices and potential risks.
Here are the seven things you need to know to execute your 4G transition.
1. Early Turn Offs Could Happen
David Crawford, VP of Guardian Medical Monitoring, warned that during the 2G to 3G transition towers were being turned down in rural areas before the sunset date. He’s concerned that it’s going to happen again – and don’t count on carriers to tell you about it in advance.
Tip: Keep an eye on where customer complaints are coming from, it may indicate 3G service shutdowns in your service area. Check online coverage maps, and try to focus on rural areas first for your upgrades.
2. Beware of Disengaged Customers
Jason Anderson, CEO of VRI, is keenly aware that not all customers are as engaged as others, and the transition brings a real risk of a higher attrition rate over your company’s usual performance.
Tip: There is no magic bullet with customer engagement – you have to put in the work. Make sure you have the right contact information for customers. Consider a campaign to reach out and re-engage your customers with postcards and phone calls to re-acclimate them to the benefits of your service and the features of their PERS system.
Anderson suggests you use this as an opportunity to reconnect with a customer and reassess their particular needs.
3. Think About Your Supply Chain
PERS is not the only industry facing the 3G sunset. Keep that in mind as you plan your transition. Device manufacturer Ritch Haselden, SVP of Sales at Essence is confident in the supply chain, but the recent world COVID shutdowns revealed real weaknesses at various points in the manufacturing supply chain. As many industries confront the shutdown in 2021, there may be constraints on 4G radios and other components needed by PERS manufacturers.
Tip: Make sure you have a good relationship with your manufacturer. Forecast your increased equipment needs between now and February 2022, when the shutdown is complete, and communicate that to your suppliers. Consider building up a larger safety inventory than usual.
4. Data is Key
All of the experts agree that having good data, and accurate reporting is the key to getting you and your business through the conversion
Tip: Know where all of your 3G devices are deployed and how long those customers have had them. Follow your coverage maps, watch your signals, and make sure they’re consistent with your carrier coverage maps.
5. Have a Recycling Plan Too
Don’t let your 3G devices that you’ve collected end up in a dumpster and eventually a landfill. Make sure you have a plan on how to recycle them.
Tip: Jason Anderson’s team at VRI is making sure every customer has information on where to properly recycle electronics in their area, but is also offering them a box where they can ship the device back to be recycled.
6. Make Sure Your Replacement 4G Devices Have Longevity
Ritch Haseldon wants you to double check that the new equipment you’re sending to customers is actually going to provide LTE service. Many LTE products available today only support a subset of the LTE frequencies.
Tip: Talk to your manufacturer and make sure your product supports your cellular carrier guidelines, and works on both voice and data in LTE.
7. Get Started Now
3G devices still work today – so it’s natural to think that you still have time before the shutdown in February 2022. However, each of the experts unequivocally urge you and your company to take action sooner rather than later.
The sunset is just around the corner and it has to be addressed.
Do you have any specific questions about the 4G transition that you would like to ask experts? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.