The long-anticipated year of the 2G sunset is finally upon us. Despite several years of warning, there are still a surprisingly large number of installed alarm panels that rely on 2G, many of which will need to be replaced before January 1, 2017, when AT&T’s 2G network will cease to exist. While Verizon’s plan is to eliminate its 2G (and 3G) operations by 2021, like AT&T, the carrier will begin shutting down its 2G towers throughout 2016, leaving a large number of end users without active cellular communication for their alarm systems.

There are so many 2G units out there, in fact, that replacing them could easily become a full-time focus for many dealers across the country, which just isn’t feasible for many security providers, said Shawn Welsh, vice president of marketing and business development for Atlanta-based Telguard.

“There are still a lot of dealers, mostly smaller dealers, who have limited funds to replace equipment if there’s no return on investment. They really have trouble making economic sense of it,” Welsh said.

Recognizing the challenge dealers face with the sunset, Telguard is launching its Telguard Freedom Program at ISC West.

“Our thought process was, ‘How can we make this easier for dealers?’” Welsh said.

Under the program, Telguard provides dealers with replacement hardware, cellular service and interactive services, including video, for a small monthly fee per unit. The program also provides dealers with insurance for future technology sunsets.

“Once dealers enroll in the Freedom Program, they are free of sunsets forever because we will replace hardware as it becomes obsolete because we’ll provide another unit at zero cost in the future,” Welsh said. “Best of all, it’s not just a one-to-one swap, but an opportunity to introduce a higher RMR value with the opportunity to upgrade customers with our interactive services, including video.”

As an added incentive, Telguard will also pay $50 toward the cost of a truck roll to replace units. Telguard determined that amount based on the average cost of hiring a subcontractor to perform replacements, which allows dealers to focus on new business.

“A lot of dealers just can’t afford to focus on replacing 2G units because that workload would make it nearly impossible to do much else. So they may subcontract out the work,” Welsh said. “We offer the reimbursement to cover that cost. That’s not a service credit; we send them a check for $50 a unit.”

With all the benefits in mind, the value to dealers should be apparent, Welsh said.

“It’s pretty easy to make a cost-benefit analysis; you could pay $300 for hardware and $50 for a truck roll and you’re already at $350. When you add in cellular and value-added services, you can easily cover the $9.95 monthly fee,” Welsh said. “Basically they have two choices: They could spend money they don’t have to get that RMR, or they can come to Telguard and pay $9.95 a month for a turnkey solution — and that’s a month-to-month contract so they can cancel at any time.”

Currently, Telguard has a small number of dealers enrolled in the program, with an official launch slated for ISC West in April.

“We’ll be available to talk with dealers about the Freedom Program at the show and we’ll have the capability to sign up dealers right at our booth,” Welsh said. Visit Booth 18109.