2G and 3G Sunsets: When They’ll Happen and How to Prepare

26.04.2022
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Carriers around the world are shutting down their 2G and 3G networks. Here’s how to make sure your business is ready.
Last updated: June 7, 2023

Billions of IoT devices rely on 2G and 3G cellular networks. These solutions offer IoT manufacturers an affordable way to keep devices connected anywhere in the world—indoors, outdoors, or on the go. But the technology is decades old, there are better solutions available, and there’s only so much bandwidth to go around.

And that’s why over the next few years, these networks are shutting down for good.

  1. Why are carriers shutting down their 2G and 3G networks?
  2. How should IoT businesses prepare for the sunsets?
  3. When is the sunset happening?

Some carriers have already sunsetted their 2G and 3G networks, pulling the plug to make room for newer cellular networks like 4G and 5G. Most other operators have at least made plans to shut them down. Thankfully, they’ve made these plans public—so you won't be caught unaware.

In this article, we’ll share when 2G and 3G networks are shutting down around the world, as well as what your business can do to prepare. But first, let’s look at why this is even happening.

1. Why are carriers shutting down their 2G and 3G networks?

Haven’t cellular carriers heard the phrase, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? 2G and 3G networks work just fine for most IoT applications. So why wouldn’t cellular providers just keep them around?

It all comes down to supply and demand.

2G and 3G technologies have already gone through extensive updates to increase their lifespans and get every last bit of use from their infrastructure. But carriers each have a limited range of radio frequencies they can dedicate their networks to. And the demand for 4G, 5G, LTE-M, and NB-IoT will only increase in the years to come.

Most 2G networks based on GSM use 850–1800 MHz or 900–1900 MHz bands. And 3G networks use bands between 850–1900 MHz or 900–2100 MHz. More advanced cellular technologies could use these same bands to provide higher data throughput and more valuable functionality. And all around the world, the opportunity these newer networks present is outgrowing the demand for continuing to support 2G and 3G infrastructure.

So with that in mind, it’s crucial that IoT manufacturers know when the sunset is happening and what they need to do before then.

2. How should IoT businesses prepare for the sunsets?

The last thing you want is to be using 2G or 3G networks when a carrier you rely on shuts their network down. Even if you still have years according to an operator’s current plan, you want to be proactive, not reactive. Here’s how to make sure you’re ready.

Evaluate your current IoT devices

Some of your devices may depend entirely on 2G or 3G connectivity. Others may simply use it as a fallback when other options like 4G or LTE-M aren’t available. You need to take inventory of every device that relies on this technology, assess which deployments and customers will need to make a transition, and identify the specific carriers your devices use.

You may simply be able to change your cellular service to a newer technology your devices are already compatible with. Or disable the functionality that searches for 2G and 3G networks. In many cases though, your devices may need significant upgrades to continue operating.

Know the dates that affect your deployments

Some carriers will continue supporting their 2G and 3G service for years. Some will make an immediate transition and sunset their entire service on a specific date, and others will gradually throttle down their 2G/3G service as they convert the available RF spectrum to other services. You don’t have to know what every carrier is doing. But you need to learn everything you can about how the carriers your business depends on are handling the transition.

Create a migration plan

Once you know the devices that need to switch and the dates they need to switch by, you’ll need to create a timeline for migrating to another solution. This may require coordinating significant updates and retrofitting with your customers. Or it could be a matter of planning out a transition to another service with your carriers. Your migration plan will depend on your business’ unique circumstances.

3. When is the sunset happening?

There’s actually no universal date for when carriers will shut down their 2G and 3G networks. Each Mobile Network Operator (MNO) has to decide when it makes the most sense for their business, based on local demand, their goals, and what they’re capable of. Many carriers have already phased out 2G service, and several plan to end 3G by the end of 2022.

Since you could have IoT deployments anywhere in the world, here’s a complete list of planned 2G and 3G sunsets by country and provider.

Africa

Africa is still behind other regions when it comes to reframing the spectrum to accommodate LTE and there have been no concrete dates for 2G and 3G shutdowns. However, in certain countries and networks, it has been reported that no 2G or 3G service is currently available.

Country Network Operator 2G Status/ Sunset Date  3G Status/ Sunset Date
Equatorial Guinea Getesa   No service
Gabon Azur   No service
Gambia Comium   No service
Mali Sotelma (Malitel)   No service
South Africa Cell C 30.06.24 25.03.25
MTN 30.02.24 25.03.25
Telkom 30.06.24 25.03.25
Vodacom 30.06.24 25.03.25

Americas

North America, especially the USA is quickly phasing out 2G networks on a massive scale. In South America, Claro has already announced future shutdown dates of 2G and 3G in many countries.

Country Network Operator 2G Status/ Sunset Date 3G Status/ Sunset Date
Argentina Personal   31.12.23
Belize Smart No service  
Bermuda ONE 01.01.17 01.01.24
Bonaire / Sint Eustatius / Saba / Curacao / Saint Martin (French part) TelCell SX 01.01.19  
Canada Bragg No service  
TELUS 31.05.17  
Videotron No service  
Wind No service  
Chile WOM S.A. No service  
Telefonica 03.23 - 12.23  
Colombia Claro 28.02.23  
Tigo 01.11.22  
Costa Rica Claro 31.12.23  
Jamaica FLOW 30.09.22  
Mexico AT&T 01.09.19  
Movistar 30.04.21  
Panama Claro 31.12.24 31.12.26
Digicel 08.03.20  
Puerto Rico Claro 31.03.22 31.12.23
St. Pierre and Miquelon SPM   No service 
United States AT&T 01.01.17 22.02.22
Verizon No service 31.12.22
Limitless Mobile No service  
T-Mobile 02.04.24 01.07.22
Union 31.12.19  
Viaero 09.05.18  

Asia

East Asia is leading the way regarding switching off 2G networks with some other Asian countries following. In certain countries in the region, such as Japan, Macau, Singapore and South Korea, there is no 2G available at all. In addition, several network operators have already planned for future 3G shutdowns.

Country Network Operator 2G Status/ Sunset Date 3G Status/ Sunset Date
Bangladesh Grameenphone 31.12.25 31.12.26
Bahrain Batelco 30.11.21  
Brunei   No service on all networks  
Cambodia SEATel No service 07.06.15
Smart   27.06.22
China China Telecom No service  
China Unicom 31.12.24  
Hong Kong CMHK   No service
3 No service  
India Airtel Punjab 01.12.23 30.09.20
Vodafone Delhi   01.04.22
BSNL   31.12.24
Jio No service No service
Indonesia AXIS   31.03.22
3   31.12.22
Indosat Ooredoo   01.12.22
Telkomsel   31.05.23
Israel & Palestine Cellcom 31.12.25 31.12.25
Golan   31.12.25
HOT mobile No service 31.12.25
Partner 31.12.25 31.12.25
Pelephone No service 31.12.25
Japan KDDI (au) No service on all networks 31.03.22
SoftBank 31.01.24
NTT DOCOMO 31.03.26
Korea (South) KT No service on all networks  
SKTelecom  
Kuwait Wataniya   30.06.23
Macao CTM No service on all networks  
Hutchison (3)  
SmarTone  
Malaysia Maxis   31.12.21
Celcom   31.12.21
U Mobile No service 31.12.21
DiGi   31.12.21
YES No service No service
Mongolia Skytel No service  
Myanmar Telenor 31.12.24 31.12.25
Mytel (Viettel)   No service
Oman Omantel (Oman Mobile)

 

31.12.2025
Ooredoo

 

31.12.2025
Pakistan Mobilink   31.12.23
Telenor 31.12.25 31.12.25
Saudi Arabia STC Al-Jawal   31.12.22
Singapore M1 No service on all networks  
SingTel  
StarHub  
Sri Lanka Dialog   31.12.22
Taiwan APTG   No service
Chunghwa 01.06.17 30.06.24
FarEasTone 01.06.17 31.12.23
T Star 31.12.18  
Taiwan Mobile 01.06.17  
Thailand dtac    31.12.25
United Arab Emirates DU 31.12.22  
Etisalat 31.12.23  
Vietnam Gtel Mobile (Gmobile)   No service
Viettel   30.06.22
Yemen MTN   No service on all networks
SabaFon  
Y-Telecom  

Europe

In some European countries and networks, it could be the case where 2G may even outlive 3G. For example, Norwegian MNO Telenor announced 3G switch-off in 2020 – five years before 2G. Likewise, Vodafone has announced it is to phase out 3G networks across many European countries in 2021 and 2022.

Country Network Operator 2G Status/ Sunset Date 3G Status/ Sunset Date
Albania Vodafone 31.12.25  
Austria A1   31.12.25
T-Mobile   31.12.24
Belgium Orange 31.12.30 31.12.25
Base   30.09.24
Proximus   31.12.25
Bulgaria A1   31.12.25
Czech Republic Vodafone 31.12.25 No service on all networks
O2  
T-Mobile 31.12.25
Cyprus  CYTAmobile -Vodafone   31.12.2025 
Denmark Telenor   17.04.23
Hi3G No service 31.12.25
Telia   17.04.23
TDC   Partial: 01.02.23
Full: 31.12.23
Estonia Telia   31.12.23
Tele2   31.12.25
Falkland Islands Sure   No service
Finland Alands 31.12.25  
DNA 31.12.25

Started: May 2023

Finalized: 31.12.23

Elisa   31.12.23
Telia   31.12.23
France Free Mobile No service  
Orange 31.12.25 31.12.28
SFR 31.12.26 31.12.28
Bouygues 31.12.26 31.12.29
Georgia Beeline No service  
Germany Telekom   No service on all networks
Vodafone 31.12.25
Telefonica O2  
Greece Cosmote   30.11.21
Vodafone 31.12.25 31.05.23
Wind   13.03.23
Greenland TELE   03.05.23
Hungary Vodafone 31.12.25 30.11.23
T-Mobile   30.06.22
Telenor   31.12.23
Iceland Nova   31.12.25
Viking 31.12.25 No service
Vodafone 31.12.25 31.12.25
Ireland Vodafone 31.12.25 31.12.23
3   EOY 2024
Italy Vodafone   28.02.21
Telecom Italia Mobile 31.12.29 31.12.22
ILIAD No service  
Latvia LMT   31.12.25
Lithuania Telia 31.12.28 31.12.22
Bite 31.12.28 31.12.25
Luxembourg Orange 31.12.30 31.12.25
Post 31.12.26 30.06.22
Tango   31.01.24
Macedonia Telekom.mk   31.12.22
Malta Melita No service  
Monaco Monaco Telecom No service  
Montenegro Mtel 01.01.25 01.01.25
Netherlands Vodafone (Ziggo) 31.12.25 04.02.20
KPN   01.04.22
T-Mobile 01.06.23  
Norway Telenor 31.12.25 31.12.21
Telia 31.12.25 09.11.21
Poland Orange 31.12.30 31.12.25
T-Mobile   30.04.23
Portugal Vodafone 31.12.25 31.12.23
Romania Orange 31.12.30 31.12.25
Telekom   01.07.22
Vodafone 31.12.25  
Russia MOTIV (LLC Ekater…)   No service
Slovenia A1 31.12.30 30.06.23
Telekom   30.09.22
Slovakia Orange 31.12.30 01.01.24
Slovak Telekom   31.12.23
Spain Movistar   31.12.25
Orange 31.12.30 31.12.25
Vodafone 31.12.25 07.11.22
Sweden Tele2 31.12.25 01.12.25
Telia 31.12.25 31.12.23
Telenor   31.12.25
3 No service  
Switzerland Salt No service  
Sunrise No service  
Swisscom No service 31.12.25
Ukraine 3Mob No service  
United Kingdom EE 31.12.25 31.12.24
3 No service 31.12.24
Vodafone 31.12.25 31.12.23

Oceania

Except for Vodafone New Zealand, most large operators have already switched off 2G service in Australia and New Zealand. On the other hand, there has been no plan for a massive 3G switch-off in the region.

Country Network Operator 2G Status/ Sunset Date 3G Status/ Sunset Date
Australia Telstra   30.06.24
Optus    
Vodafone 01.06.18 31.12.23
Guam / N. Mariana Islands Docomo No service on all networks  
IT&E  
New Caledonia OPT (Mobilis) 01.01.25 01.01.30
New Zealand 2degrees 01.03.18  
Spark 31.03.07  
Vodafone   31.12.24
Norfolk Island Norfolk Telecom   No service

Please note:

* "No service on all networks" also apply to other networks in the country that are not specified in the table
** All information in this article has been gathered from open sources at best effort. EMnify takes no liability regarding the correctness.

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