French Telecom Company Orange plans to shut down 2G and 3G networks. The multinational operator will recycle the available resources to 4G and 5G standards after ending the legacy networks.
The company says the phase-out plan will span from 2025 to 2030 but in phases across the countries. Taking a regional approach, discontinuing 2G and 3G will take place in varying timeframes taking into account their use cases in each country it operates in.
But there is a problem with ending these legacy networks. As seen in the US already, besides older smartphones, emergency devices, and other systems also work on legacy networks. When a network phases out 2G and 3G networks, it also means thousands of people will be deprived of vital communication systems. For this Orange wants to make sure its plan to shut down legacy networks won’t disrupt existing customers.
Orange says it intends to “work closely with IoT customers to identify amongst the range of future-proof technologies, the best IoT connectivity alternative according to their specific needs.”
By announcing the network shut down plans years in advance, it will allow people a swift transition towards devices that support newer mobile network standards.
“Phasing out legacy technologies such as 2G and 3G is a major part of our plan to position ourselves as a leading European network operator and to bring our customers the best connectivity possible,” said Michaël Trabbia, chief technology, and innovation officer for Orange group, in a statement. “By removing obsolete technological layers and pooling our resources, we can focus on building future-proof, resilient, automated, energy-efficient, and optimized networks. As a result, customers will benefit from more efficient and sustainable networks leading to an enhanced user experience.”
Focusing on newer mobile technologies and standards will help the operator reduce carbon emissions and become Net-Zero by 2040, Trabbia added.
Orange’s Schedule for 2G, and 3G Shut Down
Orange says it will switch off 2G in France first, by the end of 2025 and follow with 3G’s end by 2028. For most of the other markets, the operator has set the date for 2025 to halt 3G services. These include Belgium, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Spain. Likewise, the operator says it will halt 2G services in these countries by 2030 but the exact timeline will vary depending on each subsidiary’s specific plans.
And shutting down 2G and 3G networks will release spectrums the telco will allocate for 4G and 5G networks in each market. The telco has announced that it plans to refarm the available spectrum when it pulls down the curtain on both networks. This will give a major bump to network capacity for newer mobile standards in both rural and urban settlements.
Orange Prepares for SA 5G
As Orange prepares for adieu to 2G and 3G networks, it is ready to transition to 5G Stand Alone architecture in Europe. The company has already been in talks for gears procurement.
Ericsson and Nokia are the major suppliers for 5G SA core networks in many regions. As per reports, Orange will use Ericsson’s 5G SA core in Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg, and Poland. For other markets such as France, and Slovakia, it will use Nokia’s SA 5G core.
Rolling out SA 5G allows Orange to provide a private network to enterprises – that will deliver specific performances or security as needed. The operator says, preparation, testing, and deployment will take place in 2022 and commercial launch will begin in 2023.
Orange is not alone to forsake its legacy networks. It has joined other telcos that have or have plans to switch off their 2G and 3G networks. The US operators will bid farewell to their decades-old networks starting this year. While Uk, and major South Asia markets are rapidly accentuating 5G networks which will meet with the growing irrelevancy of dated mobile technologies.
Should operators follow Orange in announcing legacy networks shutdowns years in advance? Or they are older devices already irrelevant to you? Leave a comment below to share your perspective on it.