AT&T announced that it will be shutting down 2G wireless networks by 2017. That silent groan you barely heard was the collective last gasp of flip phone users desperately clinging on to their low-cost monthly service. From the Wall Street Journal:
The telecom giant said about 12% of its contract wireless customers, or roughly 8.4 million people, were using 2G handsets at the end of June, but it will work "proactively" in coming years to move them to more advanced devices. Like the other major carriers, AT&T's customers mostly use phones with 3G, or third-generation, technology, and it is aggressively rolling out a nationwide 4G network.
Killing off 2G networks is one way to gain a little bit of that oh-so-important spectrum back, especially for AT&T, which is playing catch-up to Verizon when it comes to spectrum. Again from the Journal:
A spokeswoman from Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC, said the company plans to keep its existing networks functioning for the foreseeable future.