Update path for electron 2G owners

hello, I recently got an email offering an electron 2g at a reduced price. having never owned one and having a project in mind i bought the device. this was about a week ago. after some reading i find out that many, if not all, 2g networks will be shut down starting in Jan 2017. btw, i find it rather questionable ethically that at the very least there was not some type of notification about this in the sales email. but a great many companies behave like this. my question is will particle be offering the people who purchased during this promotion an update path to the 3g electron so that they can continue development and use of cellular? thanks.

2g networks shutdown dates are entirely country and operator specific. For example in Finland operators have commitments for their biggest clients that they keep the 2g networks up upto 2030. However in US I think they might be killing them sooner. There’s no one cutoff date for 2g and never will be as it’s so operator dependant.

I didn't get such an email offering.
Was this actually a Particle mail?
Can you PM me the mail contents?

In the official :particle: Particle Store, you'll find this note

i live in the united states. i think most 2g are set to shut down next year in the u.s. offer only available in the united states. there could have been same disclaimer IN email. as that was not seen during checkout via this offer.

2G Electrons for $34.99 - Limited Time Only!

Particle Team hello@particle.io via mail168.atl61.mcsv.net
Aug 18 (11 days ago)

to me
View this email in your browser

For 48 hours only
2G Electrons for 34.99!

Enter Coupon Code E3LXQ at checkout to get the deal*
Buy Now <------button went straight to checkout

If you've been toying with the idea of playing with cellular connected hardware, now is your chance to do it without breaking the bank. For 48 hours only we are offering 2G Electrons for $34.99! Hint: That's an awesome deal. <---not so awesome if can not be used in 6 months due to no network

Enter Coupon Code E3LXQ at checkout to get the deal*
Buy Now
*Coupon can only be used once per customer. Offer only good on 2G Electrons. Coupon expires on 8/20/2016. Coupon code must be entered at checkout to redeem. Offer only valid in the United States.

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Particle Industries Inc. · 1475 Folsom St, Ste. 200 · 94103 · San Francisco, CA 94110 · USA

The “2G sunset” has already occurred in Japan, where 2G devices don’t work anymore, and is in progress in the United States and Australia, possibly other locations.

In the United States, the Particle SIM uses two carriers, AT&T and T-Mobile. Officially, AT&T has listed the end of 2016 as the sunset date, but really it has been going on for years. In my area, the tower very close to my house gained LTE and lost 2G a year ago. I only have 2G coverage using T-Mobile now.

T-Mobile also announced plans to sunset 2G, but later backed off a bit. Instead of just completely turning off 2G as AT&T did, they’re leaving a small amount of 2G service on some towers for M2M devices, like the Electron.

As long as you’re in an area that has T-Mobile 2G coverage it will continue to work, likely at least until 2020. But not every location has T-Mobile 2G coverage, and it certainly won’t be as complete as the combined AT&T and T-Mobile 3G coverage area.

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I received the same email, it’s a good deal but a little research during the initial offering of the electron refers to the 2g sunset.

Hey friends!

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. The email you received was a preview of a public sale that begins tomorrow and will be announced to our entire community.

Our intention was not to trick anyone, and I sincerely appreciate the feedback that the notice should be featured more prominently in our communications of the sale. We’ll make sure that it is in our upcoming, community-wide communication.

Like @rickkas7 mentioned, the 2G Electron relies on T-Mobile and AT&T for service in the US, and will continue to operate normally in areas where at least one of those two carriers are still providing 2G service. AT&T has communicated a Jan 1, 2017 date to begin sunsetting their 2G network, while T-Mobile has communicated their intention to keep their 2G network operational through 2017. These schedules continue to shift as carriers change their plans for 2G sunset, so we’re unable to make guarantees about support for 2G Electrons in any specific region.

If you’re not sure about the timetable for 2G support in your area, you can check specifically for 2G coverage at opensignal.com, or using the following 2G Coverage Sunset Map:


Thanks again for the feedback, @dkryder–if you still have concerns about the timetable for 2G sunset in your area, please send us an email at hello@particle.io and reference this thread and we’d be happy to work with you to find a resolution.


i was able to purchase a 3g electron this morning using the labor day sale email. the coverage maps provided by t-mobile have very little 2g network coverage mapped. so i figured it’s best to upgrade.i noticed that the labor day sale email does mention the 2g situation which i think will help avoid misunderstandings.

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I think it’s worth adding to this conversation that many telcos are planning on phasing out 3G as soon as 2020 as well, to make room for 4G/5G and NB-IoT
Take care not to assume that 3G will be around for longer than 2G as I did - as in some areas this is not the case!
I would be interested to hear of what plans Particle has in this respect going forward. @will?

that is indeed interesting as it would somewhat halt all projects, wouldn’t it? i have found that here in tucson my 2g disconnects much more than my 3g on rides around town. i guess in some areas the towers have either no 2g or not as many sockets for 2g. if i do the coverage map it shows very little if any 2g coverage, yet it still does work in some areas. i guess losing 3g on top of the 2g is indication of the onward march of technology.

It’s true, my understanding is that IoT is heading toward NB-IoT, Sigfox, LoRa etc. as opposed to traditional cellular networks. Personally I’m not comfortable developing product on either 2G or 3G as for a global market, it’s longevity is just too uncertain. Full 4G/LTE seems like overkill for IoT and I suppose that’s why these new technologies are coming in. Seems we’re in a difficult space at the moment as a few technologies are being phased out in the near future, while there isn’t quite a clear path forward just yet.

Particle is definitely investigating LPWAN and LTE Cat M1/NB-IoT. Don’t have much to add beyond that, but keep your eyes and ears peeled!


+1 For a licensed spectrum like CAT M1 / NB-IoT, as far as I know NB-IoT will be a very fast rollout as it’s a software update for >80% of towers. Looks like u-blox might have pin compatible modules available soon too!

my 2G electron has been blinking green almost all the time for the last 2 or 3 days. there have been periods when it will connect and breath cyan for several minutes but then goes to blinking green. i’m thinking that the providers here in tucson have decided to no longer provide service for 2G. the android app as well as particle dev IDE all show the 2G with breathing cyan as well as being connected. so it seems part of the particle cell cloud system seems to consider the 2G electron as connected for some reason. my 3G electron is connecting and breathing cyan as expected so the cell network is working. is there anything that can be done on the particle side to confirm that 2G service is in fact over in the north west tucson metro area? i’m going to take it on a ride later today to see if the connection situation similar in other areas of town.

edit: about mid-afternoon i decided to put the still failing 2G electron through the start up procedure given new electrons. all the prelims were done so i began with the page with the nice grapics about setup an electron with sim card/ which then advised me i needed the device,sim card,battery, and antenna. so i clicked through/next came entering the iccid and click that through/next making sure the sim is in place as well as antenna,also the battery & cable in place, i waited until my electron was breathing cyan, and to much relief it came in about 2 min, i was then able to name & reclaim my device. this exercise took place about 2pm MST and since then i watched the device hold cyan for an hour and then gave it an acid test of reset, went to breathing cyan. then held mode for 4 secs got blinking blue was able to complete several cli entries all successful. then a reset, eventually brought a breathing cyanas it is, 5 hours into this current series which hopefully will continue to show this electron is now closer to fuctioning as it shoud. is there a way to determine which provider is operating the towers i use? thanks

no such luck. was back to blinking green when i woke up and has been the past hour.

This program can print the cellular tower, signal strength, and carrier information:

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thank you, rickkas7. i’ll check this out in a couple hours. i’m hoping if i can get a fix on who controls the signal i might be able to contact them about 2G future.

I had this issue using a different SIM (no “M2M”-SIM) and too frequent connect/disconnects. But if that issue persist I’d propose to start a own thread about that.

Back to the topic: 3G is going to die in Europe before 2G sunset (at least in western Europe). So for new projects it is a real issue not having a solution for the near future,…

NB-IoT and other techniques looks really promising - hope to see an successor for the 2G/3G electron soon! And I hope the successor will be a drop-in replacement for the 2G/3G electron :smile:

@will any update or resources for this topic? I am looking to buy soon and would like to wait if there is a new kit available in the near future… Thanks!

If you’re interested in getting LTE Cat M1 or NB1, you should get a Boron LTE, not an Electron. There will not be a prototyping (vs. fleet quantity) version of the Electron with a LTE Cat M1/NB1 modem (SARA-R410M-02-B).