What?? GPS week number rollover

Received this from Verizon (my service providor):

There could be potential service impacts to your device(s) ending in xxxxxxc
Starting November 3, 2019, for specific devices sold between 2006 and 2016, users may experience Global Positioning System (GPS) location-related issues due to the GPS Week Number Rollover. Voice, text and data services will not be impacted by this rollover.
GPS accuracy may impact the performance of navigation applications used on these devices. For additional information, please visit verizonwireless.com/legal/notices/global-positioning-system/.

OnTheEdge OnTheEdge
Oct '19

Apparently most devices that were going to be affected by this issue were already affected this past April, according to the Department of Homeland Security webpage that is linked to from the Verizon site "OnTheEdge" posted:

From https://www.dhs.gov/cisa/gps-week-number-roll-over

"GPS uses a week counter that enables receivers to calculate the appropriate date. That week counter uses 10 bits and needs to be reset every 1,024 weeks—roughly every 20 years. On April 6, 2019—the first Saturday in April—the GPS week counter will reset to zero. The good news is that with the modernization of GPS the week number counter will be increased to 13 bits and we will not have another event like this for approximately 157 years."

They pretty much state that if you use your device for GPS-dependent services, then you may want to upgrade your device to a newer model in order to have proper GPS functionality such as for Uber driving, commuting, hiking/biking, etc. otherwise it's not so likely to affect you.

It seems weird that these particular devices will be affected exactly 210 days (30 weeks) after the actual GPS rollover happened and I can find no documentation referring to anything other than the April 6, 2019 event on the official DHS and GPS websites.

Any telecommunication engineers know why? I'm curious as to whether this is just a scare tactic to get people to upgrade their devices, OR whether there was some sort of software patch applied to those devices to account for the original issue and "bump them down the road" for 30 weeks to allow for people to have more time to transition to new devices to avoid a run on the market.

Phil D. Phil D.
Oct '19

I don't have a degree in telecommunications but my ten year old GPS had the issue in April where I could not find the positioners anymore. A software update through the vendor's website through the app on my laptop fixed it and no issues since. Works for me so I don't see the issues as a force upgrade if my ten year old GPS works with the update.

I think my Garmin GPS is in a box in the attic somewhere... along with my digital camera, my Palm Pilot, my flip phone and my pager, lol.

ianimal ianimal
Oct '19

I contacted Verizon, here is what I was told when asking about the significance of Nov vs. April.

"ah ok gotcha! so that message is just a generic message that is being sent out to all of the phones that are going to be impacted once we completely get rid of our CDMA network. That isnt scheduled to happen now till the end of 2020"

I then replied and the verizon rep confirmed the following staement:
"so if I understand you correctly, the impact is due to GPS week issue AND verizon elminating CDMA.:

mjmptw mjmptw
Oct '19

I had to google CDMA and came upon this on Verizon:

I think it means that if your phone is 4G compatible it will not be obsoleted, if 3G it will be obsoleted....???

Came across this also:
"The carrier (Verizon) has said that mobile users in general replace their phones every 2.5 years." Not me!

OnTheEdge OnTheEdge
Oct '19

It means if you have an ancient flip phone they will be contacting you on a good deal for a replacement...much like they have done in the past with analogue phones

Oct '19

Verizon uses any excuse they can to get you to upgrade to a new phone.

Back to the Top | View all Forum Topics

Leave a Reply

To comment on this topic, fill out the form below. If you would like to comment directly to one person, you may click on the envelope next to the posters name if they provided their email.

Re: What?? GPS week number rollover
Name (Required)
Email (Protected)
Add Photo (Optional)
By pressing Submit Comment, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions.