EMnify is hiring. Visit our careers page to see our open positions, and apply today!
    Apr, 26 2022

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

    Carriers around the world are shutting down their 2G and 3G networks. Here’s how to make sure your business is ready.

    Last updated: July 04, 2022

    blog
    Share this post

    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.

    Get multi-network LTE-M service with EMnify

    Africa

    Africa is still behind other regions when it comes to refarming 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 Source
    Gabon Azur   No service GSMA
    Gambia Comium   No service GSMA
    Mali Sotelma (Malitel)   No service GSMA
    Nigeria Ntel No service No service GSMA
    South Africa MTN   31/12/2025 GSMA

    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 Source
    Argentina Claro 31/12/2023 31/12/2025 GSMA
    Belize Smart No service   GSMA
    Bonaire / Sint Eustatius / Saba / Curacao / Saint Martin (French part) TelCell SX 01/01/2019   GSMA; Roaming Partner
    Brazil Claro 31/12/2023 31/12/2025 GSMA
    Canada Bragg No service   GSMA
    TELUS 31/05/2017   GSMA
    Videotron No service   GSMA
    Wind No service   GSMA
    Chile Claro 31/12/2023 31/12/2025 GSMA
    WOM S.A. No service   GSMA
    Colombia Claro 31/12/2022 31/12/2025 GSMA
    Costa Rica Claro 31/12/2023 31/12/2025 GSMA
    Dominican Republic Claro 31/12/2023 31/12/2025 GSMA
    Ecuador Claro 31/12/2023 31/12/2025 GSMA
    El Salvador Claro 31/12/2024 31/12/2026 GSMA
    Equatorial Guinea Getesa   No service GSMA
    Guatemala Claro 31/12/2024 31/12/2026 GSMA
    Mexico Radiomovil Dipsa (Telcel) 31/12/2024 31/12/2026 GSMA
    AT&T 01/09/2019   GSMA
    Movistar 30/04/2021   GSMA; Roaming Partner
    Nicaragua Claro 31/12/2024 31/12/2026 GSMA
    Panama Claro 31/12/2024 31/12/2026 GSMA
    Digicel 08/03/2020   GSMA; Roaming Partner
    Paraguay Claro 31/12/2024 31/12/2026 GSMA
    Peru Claro 31/12/2024 31/12/2026 GSMA
    Puerto Rico Claro 31/12/2022 31/12/2023 GSMA; Roaming Partner
    St. Pierre and Miquelon SPM   No service  GSMA
    United States AT&T 01/01/2017 22/02/2022 GSMA
    Verizon No service 31/12/2022 GSMA
    Limitless Mobile No service   GSMA
    T-Mobile   01/07/2022 GSMA
    Union 31/12/2019   GSMA
    Viaero 09/05/2018   GSMA
    Uruguay Claro 31/12/2023 31/12/2025 GSMA

    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 Source
    Bangladesh Grameenphone 31/12/2025 31/12/2026 GSMA
    Bahrain Batelco 30/11/2021   GSMA
    Brunei   No service on all networks    
    Cambodia SEATel No service 07/06/2015 GSMA
    China China Telecom No service   GSMA
    China Unicom 31/12/2022   GSMA
    Hong Kong CMHK   No service GSMA
    3 No service   Roaming Partner
    India Airtel Punjab 01/12/2023 30/09/2020 GSMA
    Vodafone Delhi   01/04/2022 GSMA
    BSNL   31/12/2024 GSMA
    Jio No service No service GSMA
    Indonesia AXIS 01/12/2022 31/03/2022 GSMA
    Israel & Palestine Cellcom 31/12/2025 31/12/2025 GSMA
    Golan   31/12/2025 GSMA
    HOT mobile No service 31/12/2025 GSMA
    Partner 31/12/2025 31/12/2025 GSMA
    Pelephone No service 31/12/2025 GSMA
    Japan KDDI (au) No service on all networks 31/03/2022 GSMA
    SoftBank 31/01/2024 GSMA
    NTT DOCOMO 31/03/2026 GSMA
    Korea (South) KT No service on all networks   GSMA
    SKTelecom   GSMA
    Macao CTM No service on all networks   GSMA
    Hutchison (3)   GSMA
    SmarTone   GSMA
    Malaysia Maxis   31/12/2021 GSMA
    Celcom   31/12/2021 GSMA
    U Mobile No service 31/12/2021 GSMA
    DiGi   31/12/2021 GSMA
    YES No service No service GSMA
    Mongolia Skytel No service   GSMA
    Myanmar Telenor 31/12/2024 31/12/2025 GSMA
    Mytel (Viettel)   No service GSMA
    Nepal Nepal Telecom   31/12/2021 GSMA
    Pakistan Telenor 31/12/2025 31/12/2025 GSMA
    Saudi Arabia STC Al-Jawal   31/12/2022 GSMA
    Singapore M1 No service on all networks   GSMA
    SingTel   GSMA
    StarHub   GSMA
    Sri Lanka Dialog   31/12/2022 GSMA
    Taiwan APTG   No service GSMA; Roaming Partner
    Chunghwa 01/06/2017   GSMA
    FarEasTone 01/06/2017   GSMA
    T Star 31/12/2018   GSMA
    Taiwan Mobile 01/06/2017   GSMA
    Thailand dtac  31/12/2021 31/12/2025 GSMA
    United Arab Emirates DU 31/12/2022   GSMA
    Etisalat 31/12/2022   GSMA
    Vietnam Gtel Mobile (Gmobile)   No service GSMA
    Viettel   30/06/2022 GSMA
    Yemen MTN   No service on all networks GSMA
    SabaFon   GSMA
    Y-Telecom   GSMA

    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 Source
    Albania Vodafone 31/12/2025   GSMA
    Austria A1   31/12/2025 GSMA
    T-Mobile   12/31/2024 GSMA
    Belgium Orange 31/12/2030 31/12/2025 GSMA
    Bulgaria A1   31/12/2025 GSMA
    Czech Republic Vodafone 31/12/2025 No service on all networks GSMA; Roaming Partner
    O2   GSMA
    T-Mobile 31/12/2025 GSMA
    Denmark Telenor 31/12/2025 31/07/2022 GSMA; Others
    Hi3G No service 31/12/2025 GSMA
    Telia 31/12/2025 31/12/2025 GSMA
    TDC   31/12/2022 GSMA
    Estonia Telia 31/12/2025 31/12/2023 GSMA
    Falkland Islands Sure   No service GSMA
    Finland Alands 31/12/2025   GSMA
    DNA 31/12/2025 31/12/2023 GSMA
    Elisa   31/12/2023 GSMA
    Telia 31/12/2025 31/12/2023 GSMA
    France Free Mobile No service   GSMA
    Orange 31/12/2025 31/12/2028 GSMA
    Georgia Beeline No service   Others
    Germany Telekom   No service on all networks GSMA
    Vodafone 31/12/2025 GSMA; Roaming Partner
    Telefonica O2   GSMA
    Greece Cosmote   30/11/2021 GSMA
    Vodafone 31/12/2025 31/12/2022 GSMA
    Wind   31/12/2022 GSMA
    Hungary Vodafone 31/12/2025 30/11/2022 GSMA
    T-Mobile   6/30/2022 GSMA
    Telenor   12/31/2023 GSMA
    Iceland Nova   31/12/2025 GSMA
    Viking   No service GSMA
    Ireland Vodafone 31/12/2025   GSMA
    Italy Vodafone   28/02/2021 GSMA; Roaming Partner
    Telecom Italia Mobile 31/12/2029   GSMA
    ILIAD No service   GSMA
    Lithuania Telia 31/12/2025 31/12/2022 GSMA
    Bite 31/12/2028 31/12/2025 GSMA
    Luxembourg Orange 31/12/2030 31/12/2025 GSMA
    Post   31/07/2022 GSMA
    Macedonia Telekom.mk   31/12/2022 GSMA
    Malta Melita No service   GSMA
    Monaco Monaco Telecom No service   Roaming Partner
    Montenegro Mtel 01/01/2025 01/01/2025 Others
    Netherlands Vodafone (Ziggo) 31/12/2025 04/02/2020 GSMA
    KPN   01/04/2022 GSMA
    T-Mobile 01/06/2023   GSMA
    Norway Telenor 31/12/2025 31/12/2021 GSMA
    Network Norway 31/12/2025 09/11/2021 GSMA
    Telia 31/12/2025 09/11/2021 GSMA
    Poland Orange 31/12/2030 31/12/2025 GSMA
    T-Mobile   01/01/2023 GSMA
    Portugal Vodafone 31/12/2025 31/03/2022 GSMA
    Romania Orange 31/12/2030 31/12/2025 GSMA
    Telekom   01/07/2022 GSMA
    Vodafone 31/12/2025   GSMA
    Russia MOTIV (LLC Ekater…)   No service GSMA
    Slovakia Orange 31/12/2030 31/12/2024 GSMA
    Telekom   31/12/2022 GSMA
    Spain Movistar   31/12/2025 GSMA
    Orange 31/12/2030 31/12/2025 GSMA
    Vodafone 31/12/2025   GSMA
    Sweden Tele2 31/12/2025 01/12/2025 GSMA
    Telia 31/12/2025 01/12/2025 GSMA
    Telenor 31/12/2025 31/12/2025 GSMA
    3 No service   GSMA
    Switzerland Salt 31/12/2023   GSMA
    Sunrise 31/12/2022   GSMA; Roaming Partner
    Swisscom 31/12/2020 31/12/2025 GSMA 
    Ukraine 3Mob No service   GSMA
    United Kingdom EE 31/12/2025 31/12/2022 GSMA
    3 No service 31/12/2024 GSMA
    Vodafone 31/12/2025 31/12/2023 GSMA

    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 Source
    Australia Telstra No service on all networks 30/06/2024 GSMA
    Optus   GSMA
    Vodafone   GSMA
    Guam / N. Mariana Islands Docomo No service on all networks   GSMA
    IT&E   Roaming Partner
    New Caledonia OPT (Mobilis) 01/01/2025 01/01/2030 GSMA
    New Zealand 2degrees 01/03/2018   GSMA; Roaming Partner
    Spark 31/03/2007   GSMA
    Vodafone 01/12/2025   GSMA
    Norfolk Island Norfolk Telecom   No service GSMA

     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. 

    Get multi-network LTE-M service with EMnify

    Find the solution that’s right for you

    At EMnify, we give your devices carrier-agnostic IoT SIMs that provide access to more than 540 networks in over 190 countries. Not sure how you’re going to handle the transition away from 2G or 3G connectivity? Our experts can find the right coverage for you and help you develop a migration plan.

    jean-eudes

    Jean-Eudes Ambroise

    Jean-Eudes is Director of Customer Success at EMnify. He's been working in the industry since 2017 and is an IoT expert.

    Contact us today for a future-proof solution

    We value your privacy.