Vodafone UK will be one of the first telecommunications providers to shut off its 3G mobile network. The exact date is still unknown, but the estimated timeframe is said to be somewhere between two and three years.
The other providers in this region are likely to follow suit. With that being said, 2G voice will stay around for a while, since it’s a useful fallback tool to have around that doesn’t require much power to operate.
Their decision to shut down the 3G network is indeed a reasonable one. With 4G reaching its current phase of maturity, there is simply no reason to have 3G around anymore. In essence, they are the same thing, with the only difference being that 4G is much more efficient at doing what it was designed to do.
Of course, switching it off is likely to lead to some connectivity problems, and losing the 3G-only users won’t come easy to operators. On the bright side, they are not as massive in numbers, so the decision is a rational one. After all, keeping the 3G network alive is not a move that would make sense in economic terms.
Andrea Dona, head of the mobile network at Vodafone UK, sees 2G as being useful in the future; particularly in the IoT industry. This is the kind of industry where users are not looking for a high speed connection; they just need a low-power way to keep processes ticking in the background. Therefore, it’s safe to say that 2G will stay around for quite a while.