With the clock ticking on the 3G cellular network and the need to transition to higher speeds relied upon by telematics devices, carriers are looking for the right partner — if they haven’t already found one — to make that shift.

For Claremont, North Carolina-based Cargo Transporters, a truckload carrier operating approximately 500 power units and 1,800 trailers, SkyBitz was up to the task.

“We started looking about two years ago into how we were going to handle [the sunsetting of 3G],” Cargo Transporters Chairman John Pope said in recounting his experience Thursday during a panel discussion at FreightWaves LIVE @HOME.

“Because of the quantity of devices we had and knowing we were going to have to go out and touch every vehicle and every piece of equipment, we wanted to make sure we made the right selection.”

Pope said his company chose SkyBitz, which specializes in tracking technology for trailers and containers, not just because of its high level of service but because he was impressed with the company’s financial stability and knowing it would be able offer long-term support for its product.

“We’ve had a lot of experience with sunsets; we’ve been in the business 20-plus years, and you learn through the school of hard knocks,” said SkyBitz Division Vice President Anton Albrand during the panel. “That’s what has helped us get better and better each time these events happen.”

Pope explained that the biggest challenge for his company was getting access to the equipment in order to make the necessary conversions. “With most carriers having increased their tractor-to-trailer ratio because of customer demands to hold the equipment for another day or two, it’s harder than ever to get our hands on that equipment,” he said, “so we had to manage through that process.”

Albrand emphasized that converting from 3G to an LTE mobile technology for telematics isn’t simple — there are a lot of moving parts and a lot of upfront planning involved. However, “we’re excited to work with companies that have the vision and insight to get ahead of the curve,” he said.

Pope added: “If you plan it correctly and work with the right partner, there’s plenty of time left to do that.”