A Complete Overview of 2G & 3G Sunsets

Tags: IoT
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Written by
Andrew Worth

Latest update on November 30, 2020

Many of our customers are worried about the impending shutdown of 2G & 3G networks around the world. Probably you're considering it as well. We have collected all the available information into one article, so you're in the right place.


The following article serves as part 2 of our popular blog post on the very same topic. The first edition covered everything that was known in March 2018. Since then there have been new announcements from telecoms around the world regarding their planned shutdowns.

Shutting down 2G and 3G networks is generally called sunsetting. The reason why telecoms are eager to shut down their 2G or 3G networks is that they want to free up resources for impending 5G deployments. If your intended module is designed to use 2G or 3G, the sunsetting can cause many problems with device deployments. So it's wise to prepare for the future without 2G and 3G networks.

2G and 3G are still essential for IoT and M2M devices because of their lower cost compared to 4G modules. Also, cheaper megabyte pricing and reliable worldwide coverage. Furthermore, the speeds of 4G are not relevant for IoT or M2M devices, which are sending minimal amounts of data. The 2G's slow connection is still fast enough for today's standards.

From our side, we can say that for truly global deployments, it's not reasonable to lock your device into only 2G or 3G. Or even have a module that allows switching between the two. However, if you're only targeting certain countries or regions where they are still a viable option, then we can't stop you.

Following is a list of shutdowns that have been announced or have already taken place.

North America:

United States

AT&T

Verizon

T-Mobile

Sprint

Canada

Bell Mobility

Telus Mobility

Rogers Wireless

SakTel

Mexico

AT&T

Telefonica

  • 2G Shutdown: 2G will start shutting down from December 2020 and conclude at the end of January 2021

Europe:

Vodafone across Europe

United Kingdom

EE

Vodafone UK

Denmark

Three

TT-Netvaerket

Telenor

Telia

Lithuania

Telia

  • 3G shutdown in 2022

France

SFR

  • 2G available until 2030

Czech Republic

T-Mobile

  • 3G shutdown expected by 2020

Italy

Vodafone

  • 3G shutdown: January 31, 2021

Latvia

Telia

  • 3G shutdown in 2022

Switzerland

Swisscom (and Liechtenstein)

Sunrise Communications

Netherlands

T-Mobile

KPN

Vodafone

Norway

Telia

Telenor

Sweden

Telia

Tele2

Germany

Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile)

Vodafone

  • 2G Shutdown in 2025
  • 3G shutdown between 2020-2021

Caribbean:

Cayman Island

Digicel Cayman

South America:

Ecuador

CNT

Middle East:

Israel

Pelephone

Saudi Arabia

STC

  • 3G shutdown sometime in 2022

Bahrain

Batelco

UAE

Asia:

Macau, SAR

Hutchison

  • 2G shutdown in June 20151

SmarTone

  • 2G shutdown in June 20151

CTM

  • 2G shutdown in June 20151

Hong Kong

Vietnam

Myanmar

Telenor

  • 2G shutdown scheduled for 20222
  • 3G shutdown planned for 2025-20262

Pakistan

Telenor

  • 3G shutdown planned for 20232

Bangladesh

Grameenphone

  • 2G shutdown planned for 20252

China

India

Airtel

Reliance

Japan

  • Nationwide 2G shutdown in 2012


NTT DoCoMo

KDDI

  • 2G shutdown on March 2008
  • 3G shutdown on March 20261

SoftBank

South Korea

KT

LG U+

Taiwan

All carriers due to governmental regulation

Thailand

All carriers due to governmental regulation

Singapore

M1

  • 2G shutdown date: April 1, 2017
  • 3G will start shutting down from 2025+1

Singtel

  • 2G shutdown date: April 1, 2017
  • 3G will start shutting down from 2025+1

StarHub

  • 2G shutdown date: April 1, 2017
  • 3G will start shutting down from 2025+1

Africa

South Africa

Telkom

Oceania

Australia

Telstra

Optus

Vodafone

New Zealand

Spark

2degrees

Vodafone

  • 2G shutdown in 20251


Sunsets don’t have to be the end of the line for your deployment dreams. If properly planned for, you can avoid all the headache by choosing the right hardware for your deployment region from the very beginning. You can read more about the various modems which support 2G, 3G, 4G, and eSIM here.

Also, we will update this article or make new posts when new announcements are made from telecoms regarding their 2G or 3G shutdowns around the world.

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References:

1. GSMA Legacy mobile network rationalisation, Experiences of 2G and 3G migrations in Asia-Pacific, May 2020

2. UK Spectrum policy forum, October 2019

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