Global 2G and 3G network switch off is ongoing at a quick pace. In total, 75 operators in 40 countries have either completed, planned, or are in the process of legacy network shutdown, GSA reports.
GSA (Global Mobile Suppliers Association) has reported that by June 2022, 135 operators in 68 countries have either completely shut down or are in the progress to phase out the 2G and 3G mobile networks.
Both cellular standards were a great leap when they were launched but with newer and more advanced technologies have emerged, their use cases have dwindled. With both legacy networks becoming more irrelevant, governments and mobile network operators have started switching off 2G and 3G networks and spectrums allocated to them.
Also see: UK Preparing For 2G/3G Shutdown By 2033
Global 2G and 3G network switch off trend
The report also mentions that 75 operators in 42 countries and territories have either completed or planned a 2G switch-off. Of the total, 23 MNOs in 14 countries have completed, while 52 MNOs in 32 countries have planned to shut down second-generation mobile networks.
Despite being a faster and higher-performing cellular standard than 2G, 3G switch-off is also ongoing at a pace. So far, 75 operators in 40 countries and territories have either planned or are in progress to switch off the 3G network. 26 telecom service providers in 15 countries and territories have completely shut down the 3G network switch off. Meanwhile, 44 operators in 30 countries have planned to break away from the 3G network. Likewise, 5 operators in 5 countries have been in the progress to end the third-generation mobile network which made video calls possible on mobile phones.
With 4G being the current mainstream network and 5G hitting more markets, the shutdown of 2G and 3G mobile networks will only increase. But what is more fascinating is that the shutdown of 3G is outpacing that of its predecessor.
GSA says that for operators to migrate to newer mobile networks 2025 will be the most popular year.
Mobile network upgrade trend
GSA found that 53% of operators prefer to upgrade their network standards to both 4G and 5G. That is the fourth-generation network will co-exist with 5G at large. Meanwhile, 31% of service providers stated that they would only upgrade to a 4G network with 13% migrating their services to 5G. In their research, GSA reports that 3% of operators will be upgrading to 3G, 4G, and 5G.
Europe to lead legacy networks shutdown
As per the finding, GSA says Europe will lead the most significant number of 2G and 3G switch off with 93 or 63% of the global total. Asia likewise, will come second with 31 shutdowns (21%) followed by North America and the Middle East, and Africa with 8 (5%) each. Oceania, Latin America, and the Caribbean will follow with 7 (5%), and 2 (1%), instances of shutdowns.
GSA concludes that the rate of global 2G and 3G switch off will continue to rise in coming years with more operators resorting to closing down the dated technologies. Slowly, the adoption of 2G and 3G will nosedive as more countries and companies free up spectrums for 4G and 5G upgrades. With the 5G ecosystem developing fast, more operators would be announcing plans to turn off 2G and 3G cellular technologies.
Which mobile network are you mostly on? Do you think the advent of newer technologies will turn date cellular standards completely obsolete? Do share your opinion in the comments below.