The impact of 2G & 3G sunsets on IoT connectivity

We at freeeway have been preparing for the upcoming 2G and 3G sunsets. In this blog post, we will show what to expect and which technologies are a good alternative to 2G and 3G.

2G and 3G networks had been essential for many freeeway customers over the last years, especially for IoT and M2M devices for asset tracking. Consequently, more and more customers need to face the technical challenge to continuously provide global connectivity despite the sunsetting of 2G and 3G networks. The question arises:

What’s next?

2G & 3G Shutdown

 

To free up resources for the upcoming 5G enrollment, networks all over the globe have recently announced their planned 2G and 3G shutdowns as listed below:

America:

Country Operator 2G 3G
Canada Rogers Phase out Q4 2021 Phase out 2025
Mexico Movistar (Telefonica) Phase out 2021
USA AT&T Phase out Q1 2022


Asia:

Country Operator 2G 3G
Bangladesh Grameenphone Phase out Q4 2025 Phase out Q4 2026
Cambodia Smart Cambodia Phase out Q4 2021
China China Unicom Phase out Q4 2021
India Bharti Airtel Phase out Q4 2023
Indonesia XL Excelcom Phase out Q4 2022
Japan

 

KDDI Phase out 2026
NTT DoCoMo Phase out 2026
Malaysia Digi Phase out Q4 2024
Myanmar Telenor Phase out Q4 2024 Phase out 2025
Pakistan Telenor Phase out 2025 Phase out 2023
Saudi Arabia Saudi Telecom (Al Jawal) Phase out 2022 Phase out 2022
Mobily Phase out 2022
ZAIN Phase out 2022
Singapore

 

 

M1 Phase out 2025
Singtel Phase out 2025
Starhub Phase out 2025
Thailand DTAC TriNet Phase out Q4 2025
United Arab Emirates

 

DU Emirates Phase out Q3 2022
Etisalat UAE Phase out Q3 2022
Vietnam Beeline Vietnam (Gtel) Phase out 2022
Vietnamobile Phase out 2022
Viettel Phase out 2022

 

Europe:

Country Operator 2G 3G
Austria A1 Phase out Q4 2025
Bulgaria A1 Phase out Q4 2025
Croatia T-Mobile Phase out Q4 2022
Czech Republic O2 (Telefonica) Phase out Q4 2021
T-Mobile Phase out Q4 2025 Phase out Q4 2021
Denmark Telenor Phase out Q4 2025 Phase out Q3 2022
Telia Phase out Q4 2025 Phase out Q2 2021
Estonia TeliaSonera Phase out Q4 2025 Phase out Q4 2025
Finland DNA Phase out Q4 2025 Phase out Q4 2023
Elisa (Radiolinja) Phase out Q4 2023
TeliaSonera Phase out Q4 2025 Phase out Q4 2025
Germany O2 (Telefonica) Phase out Q4 2022
Greece Vodafone Phase out Q4 2022
Ireland Hutchison 3G Phase out Q1 2023
O2 (Telefonica) Phase out 2025 Phase out Q1 2023
Vodafone Phase out 2025
Latvia LMT (Telia) Phase out 2022
Lithuania Telia (Omnitel) Phase out 2025 Phase out Q4 2022
Luxembourg POST Phase out Q2 2022
Malta EPIC Phase out 2025
Montenegro M-Tel Phase out 2025
Netherlands KPN Phase out Q1 2022
Norway Com4 Phase out 2025
Telenor Phase out 2025
Poland T-Mobile Phase out 2024-2025
Portugal Vodafone (Telecel) Phase out 2025 Phase out Q1 2022
Romania Vodafone (MobiFon) Phase out 2025
Spain Telefonica Phase out 2025
Vodafone Phase out 2025
Sweden Tele2 Phase out Q4 2025 Phase out Q4 2025
Telenor Phase out Q4 2025 Phase out Q4 2025
Telia Phase out Q4 2025 Phase out Q4 2025
Switzerland Sunrise Phase out Q4 2022 Phase out 2024
United Kingdom EE Phase out Q4 2025 Phase out 2022
Vodafone Phase out Q4 2022


Oceania:

Country Operator 2G 3G
New Zealand Vodafone Phase out 2025

Even though certain countries will keep their 2G and 3G networks, these planned shutdowns will significantly impact IoT companies offering connectivity on a global scale – especially if no further device development is considered. More and more devices are switching modules using alternative technologies such as 4G, LTE-M, and | or NB IoT. But why are those technologies a good alternative?

LTE-M | NB IoT | 4G / LTE

In most cases, IoT devices relying on 2G and 3G aim for the ability to

  • lower costs regarding hardware

  • better indoor coverage

  • reduced power consumption

  • and hence longer battery lifetime

LTE-M (LTE CAT M1):  provides higher bandwidth and data rates than NB IoT but assures a longer battery lifetime and better indoor penetration than 4G | LTE

freeeway use cases: Pet Tracking | Time Keeping for Racing | Fleet Tracking | Digital Pest Control | Smart Waste Management

NB-IoT: is the preferred choice for cost-sensitive applications with a very low data consumption

freeeway use cases: Pet Tracking | Parking Sensors | Condition Monitoring | Smart Metering

Both technologies are considered to be the major alternative to 2G and 3G networks.

[4G / LTE: can be used for high-performance devices characterized by high data consumption and very low latency]

freeeway use cases: TV Live Streaming | Security & Trail Cameras | Industrial Monitoring | Industrial Modems

Freeeway proposition

While many local networks have already launched their LTE-M or NB IoT networks in their domestic markets, very few mobile network operators have their roaming agreements in place to provide regional or global coverage. Through freeeway’s ability to seamlessly manage IoT connectivity from different network partners, we enable our global clients to benefit from the combination of their roaming capabilities and, therefore, access to their LTE-M and NB IoT networks.

LTE-M in Europe:

  • Belgium (Orange Belgium)
  • Canada (Telus Communication)
  • France (Orange France)
  • Germany (T-Mobile)
  • The Netherlands (KPN, Vodafone, T-Mobile)
  • Norway (Telenor Norge AS)
  • Switzerland (Swisscom Ltd)

 

LTE-M outside Europe:

  • Japan (NTT DoCoMo)
  • New Zealand (Telecom New Zealand Ltd RB)
  • Taiwan (Chunghwa Telecom)
  • USA (AT&T Mobility)
  • Australia (Telstra)

 

NB IoT in Europe:

  • Belgium (Orange Belgium)
  • Czech Republic (T-Mobile Czech Republic a.s.)
  • Germany (T-Mobile)
  • Hungary (Magyar Telekom)
  • Italy (Vodafone Omnitel N.V.)
  • The Netherlands (T-Mobile NL)
  • Poland (T-Mobile Polska)
  • Slovakia (Slovak Telekom, as)
  • Spain (Vodafone Espana S.A.U.)
  • Switzerland (Swisscom Ltd)

 

NB IoT outside Europe:

  • USA (T-Mobile USA)

 

Let’s talk!

Despite the planned sunsets of 2G and 3G networks, we at Freeeway believe that the shutdowns can be seen as the next step of improving the hardware and optimize IoT connectivity in the next evolution phase.

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