Where are you in the 2G Sunset?

15 percent of respondents still have many customers on 2G
Wednesday, July 13, 2016

YARMOUTH, Maine—Respondents to Security Systems News’ latest poll on the 2G sunset show highly varied experiences: half said that areas lost 2G service before expected, 65 percent still have accounts to change over, and 25 percent said they can relax—there’s plenty of time before the sunset.

The 2G sunset is the projected date—Dec. 31, 2016—when 2G communications will no longer be serviced from current towers, forcing alarm dealers to seek alternate communication paths.

“If you haven't addressed this issue two years ago, you are going to lose customers to those who did. You face a difficult decision, to pursue your revenue streams or focus your company resources on maintaining your existing customer base, you can't do both,” Karl Jacoboski, alarm service technician for Per Mar Security Services, wrote in.

What’s the best way to approach the 2G conversions at this point? Seventy-five percent say hiring additional staff and devoting more resources is the answer. Twenty-five percent said there’s plenty of time before the sunset. No respondents said that selling accounts would be the best option.

Fifty percent of all respondents said that 2G blackouts occurred in areas before expected. Twenty-nine percent lost customers who didn’t want to upgrade their systems. Only 21 percent said they had no problems in converting 2G accounts.

“We seized the opportunity to not only approach [2G customers] about the necessity of upgrading their radios, but also to have them renew their contracts. We also made them aware of our newer product offerings,” Steve Schlansky, general manager for World Wide Security, said. “We had the project centralized through one coordinator to ensure that there was no duplication of effort or mixed messages being sent to our customer base.”

Fifteen percent of responding companies still have a lot of customers on 2G communication paths. Nineteen percent of respondents said that their companies are either completely done with 2G conversions, or close to it. A considerable majority—65 percent—said that they still have some accounts to change over, but don’t expect problems.

“We began the process of notifications in the fall of 2014 and anticipate completion of all 2G updates by Sept. 1, 2016,” Mac Murrell, owner of Murrell Burglar Alarms, said. “There have been headaches, but primarily in scheduling and the resources devoted to that upgrade that would not have been necessary otherwise.”

Another reader said communication paths will be an ongoing issue for the industry. “Several years ago, converting systems over from AMPS was the challenge. Now converting systems over from 2G is the challenge. I expect this scenario will be a recurring problem with the rapid pace of technological development.”