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How will the 3G switch-off impact Topcon products?

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With many site solutions relying on the 3G network to connect to the cloud, the impending network switch-off is a concern for many construction businesses. Telecom providers have already started to phase out the network and contractors need to be prepared for upcoming changes.

  • Vodafone UK and Vodafone Ireland is starting their switch-off this year.
  • EE plans to start its switch-off in early 2024.
  • Three expects to switch-off by the end of 2024.
  • O2 has not yet announced any switch-off plans.

For more detailed information on the switch off, please visit Ofcom website.

Here’s how the switch-off will impact customers using Topcon solutions.

What to expect

There are currently a number of Topcon products in use that rely on the 3G network for functions such as RTK correction and connecting to the cloud to upload or download files and drawings.

Following the shutdown of the 3G network, some products will roll-back to using the 2G network.  However, the coverage of 2G is not as widespread and the data transfer speed is also a lot slower than that of the current 3G network. Users utilising the 3G network for data transfer and cloud-based solutions will need to upgrade their equipment to ensure 4G connectivity.  Those only using the 3G network to receive Topnet RTK corrections will still be able to use the 2G network, however coverage will be greatly reduced and we recommend upgrading your equipment to continue to use Network RTK solutions in as many geographical locations as possible.

If your instrument uses 3G, it is crucial that you take timely action. Below we’ve outlined what you can do to minimise disruption.

Next steps

The full list of products impacted by the network switch-off is below. We advise you check whether your instrument is affected and take the recommended actions.

If yours is not listed below, we do not expect any impact from the 3G switch-off and you do not have to take any action.

Please note that all new Topcon products use the 4G network. Additionally, Topcon offers 4G upgrades for almost all its machine control systems to ensure full functionality. Systems up to 15 years old can be upgraded so please get in touch with your account manager.

The following solutions require an external modem that supports 4G. Please get in touch with your local dealer to discuss next steps:

  • AGI-4 RTK NTRIP, receiver
  • AGI-3 RTK NTRIP, receiver

If you have one of these products, please get in touch with your dealer for further advice:

  • HiPer V, GNSS rover
  • HiPer II, GNSS rover
  • HiPer SR cell, GNSS rover
  • GR-3, GNSS receiver
  • NET-G5, GNSS receiver
  • GR-5, GNSS receiver
  • GRS-1, GNSS receiver
  • Tesla RTK+, field book
  • FC-500 geo, field book
  • Tesla, Field Book
  • FC-200/FC-250, field book
  • Delta Link v1.0
  • Delta Link v2.0
  • All Machine Rover Boxes

Some solutions without a Topcon SIM card will also be affected – contact Topcon or MoveRTK to request one:

  • MC-R3, Machine Control Roverbox
  • MC-i3, Machine Control Roverbox
  • MC-i4 serial number starting with '1346-', Machine Control Roverbox

The products listed below will no longer be supported and require replacement. We advise reaching out to your account manager to discuss options:

  • Raven modem, Machine Control modem
  • LS300 modem, Machine Control modem

The Hiper+ and GNSS rover won't be affected by the switch-off, so no action is required if you’re using these solutions.