Cellular carriers aggressively manage their most precious asset: cellular spectrum. Whenever a cellular carrier launches a new technology that shares spectrum with an older technology, the older technology will become obsolete and will sunset within 15 years. In 1995, AMPS began sharing spectrum with 2G (GSM). Within 13 years the infamous Analog Sunset completely eliminated AMPS from the cellular landscape. Similarly, 2G began sharing spectrum with 3G in 2005 and, driven by the huge popularity of smart phones, is on pace to disappear in no more than five years.
The correlation between a new technology launch and the sunset of the older technology isn’t an idle observation. Major cellular carriers officially stopped certifying 2G devices in 2011. This effectively halted the launch of any new commercial 2G devices and forced future products to use 3G from 2012 forward. Consumer devices—harder to purge from active circulation—underwent an identical ban long ago. Visit a local wireless store and see how many 2G only devices are on sale: zero.