Canada’s 3G shutdown: what Geotab users need to know

Published on September 25, 2023

How does the 3G shutdown affect telematics?

Over the last several years, carriers across the globe have been shutting down their 3G networks to focus efforts on new 5G technology. 3G has been around for over 20 years but can no longer keep up with the evolving pace of mobile technology. Canada’s “big three” network providers, Bell, Rogers and TELUS, plan to shut down 3G connectivity by the end of 2025. While Canada’s 3G sunset is two years away, businesses using 3G-enabled devices should start planning their replacement rollout now – including older Geotab GO devices. Businesses are looking at a large cost if they have hundreds or thousands of GO devices to replace.

Many of Geotab’s older GO devices have been operating and collecting data for 10+ years. That’s quite a long time for a piece of technology. Think about cell phones, tablets, and laptops – those normally need replacing every few years. The longevity of Geotab’s GO devices is a testament to their durability and overall value. But once Canadian carriers shut down the 3G network, the older GO devices will no longer operate.

If your fleet is using any of the GO devices listed below, you will need to replace them with the Geotab GO9.

Geotab GO devices impacted by 3G shutdown

  • GO6 (launched in 2012)
  • GO7 (launched in 2014)
  • GO8 (launched in 2017, some GO8 devices are LTE)
  • GO RUGGED 7 (launched in 2016)
  • GO RUGGED 8 (launched in 2017/2018)

How to identify which network my Geotab GO device is connected to?

Geotab GO devices are configured during production to connect with a specific network. Other than checking the physical label of the GO device for any of the versions listed above, there is a quicker way to verify which network it’s using.

In MyGeotab, go to the “Vehicle & Assets” menu and check the “Serial number” column. The serial number begins with the GO device version. If you see “G6, G7 or G8” as the first two digits, then those devices will need to be replaced. Alternatively, you can run a “Device Report” and filter either the “serial number” or “device” column to view a complete list.

If you’re still unsure or would like confirmation, you can always contact our superstar support team at Northern BI. We can easily identify which network your devices are using and advise you on the next steps.

Geotab device report

Make a plan to replace your 3G GO devices

Once you’ve identified which GO devices need replacing, it’s time to start planning. It’s up to you if you want to purchase all the devices at once or in groups to help alleviate expenses. Installation time is another thing fleet managers need to consider. Installing new GO devices could impact regular business operations as vehicles may experience some downtime.

Either way, Northern BI recommends the transition from old to new GO9 devices be completed before the end of 2025. As we approach 2024, fleets should at least identify which GO devices need replacing. You don’t want to reach the end of 2025 and be sideswiped with defunct GO devices and a large expense.

Northern BI clients can contact their designated Customer Success Manager or Business Development Manager if they have questions or want to discuss a 3G replacement plan.

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Julie Darnbrough

Marketing Manager


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