In New Zealand, all the major telco providers have indicated that they will be shutting down the 3G cellular network to free up low-band spectrum to extend 5G service in rural areas. One NZ (formally Vodafone) will be ending the service in late 2024, with Spark and 2 Degrees following in late 2025.

This shutdown will negatively impact many technologies, including some users of reference station networks including SmartFix.

The specific effect will be that the surveying equipment they are using will no longer be able to directly connect to the internet.

The impact of the 3G shutdown for Leica surveying equipment users, will depend on the equipment they are using.

Impacted Leica Surveying Equipment:

The degree to which your equipment will be affected depends on where the sim card is located. If your sim card is located inside the following devices, they will not be able to connect directly to the internet after the 3G shutdown.

GNSS Antennas:

GS14, GS15 with 3G slotin modems, GS16


CS15, early CS20 (3.75G)

You can still use internet services such as SmartFix with your older GNSS antennas that are if they are connected to newer 4G/LTE Controllers.

Older Controllers that can Wifi hotspot to 4G/5G cell phones, or hotspots can also still be used for these services, or for cloud services, data exchange and browsing. (Refer to Work around below)

The following equipment include 4G/LTE modems and will be unaffected by the 3G shutdown.

GNSS Antennas:

GS18, GS18T, GS18I, GS15 with 4G/LTE slotin modems


CS20 (LTE), CS30, CS35.

How to tell if your equipment is 3G or 4G/LTE compatible

To identify if your CS20 controller is 3G or 4G/LTE:

Turn on the controller, go to Settings/About Leica Captivate.

Page to ‘CS controller’.

If the CS modem is a Cinterion PHS8 then the unit is a 3.75G unit and will not be able to connect directly to the internet after the 3G shutdown.

If you have a GS16, GS15 or GS14 GNSS antenna connected to a CS20(LTE) Controller, you can remain connected to the internet and a reference station network by using the SIM card in the Controller.


If you have a Wifi enabled CS20 Controller & some models of the CS15 (part number 848515, 781600, 781599, 767871), pair the controller to a 4G smartphone or mobile 4G router via a hotspot.

This solution relies on the battery of your cellular device and your proximity to the device, which will need to be positioned such that it has a reliable 4G connection.

We recommend that you trial these connections while the 3G network is still active, so you have a viable solution once the 3G network is shutdown.

Trade-in options

New technologies offer much more than just 4G/LTE modems.  This is a great time to consider trading your older GNSS receivers and Controllers to take advantage of the many new features and ensure business continuity as the legacy cellular services are turned off.

Global Survey is currently running a trade in program on equipment (from any manufacturer). Talk to our team to see what offers are available!

If you require technical assistance, please contact our expert team on 0800 453 422 or email