Ofcom UK Issues Expectations for 2G and 3G Mobile Shutdown

Ofcom UK Points Expectations for 2G and 3G Cell Shutdown

telecommunication tower dropping signal on the city

Ofcom right this moment introduced its “expectations“for a way they need cellular operators – Three UK, Vodafone, EE (BT) and O2 (VMO2/ Virgin Media) – approaching the phase-out of legacy 2G and 3G cellular providers The purpose is to make sure that shoppers are “handled pretty” and are usually not not noted of important providers.

Presently, the federal government and all main cellular operators have already agreed to take away current 2G and 3G alerts by 2033 (here), which can release radio spectrum bands that can be utilized to additional enhance the community protection and cellular broadband speeds of recent 4G and 5G based mostly cellular networks. The shutdown may also scale back the operators’ prices and electrical energy consumption.

Nonetheless, opposite to what you may assume, 3G providers would be the first, as older 2G alerts stay helpful as a low-power backup and are nonetheless crucial for some rural areas, in addition to for explicit purposes (e.g. many Sensible Meters and different Web of Issues (IoT)/M2M providers depend on 2G). In truth, most operators count on to fully part out 3G by the tip of 2024.

The catch is that such a large-scale program will inevitably trigger knowledge connectivity points for anybody nonetheless counting on a 3G machine (they nonetheless exist, even when within the minority), particularly if it does not have the flexibility to roll again. to 2G.

The Elimination Plans for 3G Cell Cellphone

Vodafone The UK will begin phasing out 3G this month and goals to complete by December 2023.

Three UK mentioned they may part out our 3G community service over the following 2 years and switch it off by the tip of 2024.

EE (BT) this yr will begin turning off 3G prospects as an alternative of turning off the community, however they purpose to show it off in early 2024.

O2 (Virgin Media) knowledgeable us that they haven’t but introduced a public sundown time, however will adhere to the 2033 date (O2 operates many 2G based mostly Sensible Meters in properties).

the regulator, Ofcomhave NO formal function within the shutdown course of itself, however they naturally want to be certain that “shoppers are handled pretty and might proceed to entry the providers they want“. As a part of that they right this moment published a document this, in addition to highlighting any related regulatory necessities, additionally units out how they count on cell phone suppliers to strategy implementing the shutdown of their providers to make sure that their consumer-focused targets are met.

Ofcom’s Key Expectations:

• Reduce protection impact:

EE, Three and Vodafone have dedicated to making sure they may supply a broadly equal degree of protection following the 3G and subsequent 2G switch-off, with areas at present reliant on 3G/2G upgraded to 4G forward of the switch-off. We welcome this and count on Virgin Media O2 (which has not but set a date for its 3G shutdown) to make an identical dedication as soon as it has progressed its plans. We count on operators to undertake an in depth protection evaluation earlier than shutting down their networks to make sure that they meet these commitments and that prospects don’t expertise a discount in protection.

• Contractual details about the shutdown of providers:

Cell phone suppliers ought to clarify of their contract data and abstract when the service being bought will not work on the 3G and/or 2G networks (the place recognized) and that the client will want a 4G succesful handset after that date.

• Speaking and offering help to prospects:

The place prospects want to exchange or improve their handset, we count on cell phone suppliers to provide at the very least three to 6 months’ discover of the steps they should take, and to speak in a transparent and well timed method, utilizing a variety of strategies to boost buyer consciousness. Susceptible prospects, significantly these struggling financially, might want to obtain extra help – this might embody providing reductions on substitute telephones.

• Different providers that depend upon cellular networks:

In addition to prospects utilizing older handsets, an outage may also have an effect on a variety of different units reminiscent of telecare alarms and fee terminals. These providers would require an extended discover interval. A lot of them additionally use ‘roaming SIMs’ and shouldn’t have a direct buyer relationship with UK cell phone suppliers. We count on that cellular suppliers will work to establish these providers, sharing information throughout the business the place potential, serving to to boost consciousness in order that related suppliers have ample time to replace their units and shoppers don’t lose entry to important providers.

Most of that is frequent sense, and it is very important contemplate that cellular digital operators (MVNOs) must observe the identical strategy, as their prospects may also be affected by the change.

Selina Chadha, Ofcom’s Director of Connectivity, mentioned:

“Within the subsequent few years, older cellular networks will step by step be switched off to make manner for quicker, extra dependable providers.

However some individuals will need assistance updating their units throughout this course of. So we advised cellular networks what they should do to ensure help is out there to those that want it.”

Nonetheless, a program as massive as that is nonetheless prone to catch some finish customers and lead to complaints, however that may seemingly be a a lot greater downside for the 2G shutdown than the 3G.


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