AT&T’s 2G wireless network will go dark at the beginning of 2017, the company confirmed today in an SEC filing spotted by the Wall Street Journal.

Only 12 percent of AT&T’s contract customers are still using 2G phones, so clearly the company has an incentive to shut it down and repurpose that 2G spectrum for 3G and 4G networks. The vast majority of AT&T’s customers are using 3G HSPA or HPSA+ networks, but in rural areas 2G GSM and EDGE networks are usually your life line for making calls. It’s unclear what will happen to those 2G networks that don’t serve many people but are important for making a call from the middle of nowhere.

AT&T no longer sells 2G-only handsets. It said it will also work to get customers moved over to devices that work with 3G and 4G networks. The biggest push, we expect, will be to get the majority of its customers using its next-gen 4G network.

Ralph de la Vega photo: Sean Ludwig/VentureBeat