2G Switch off by Country Guide

Are you confused about the 2G switch off by country? Unsure which nations still offer a 2G internet connection for your mobile or IoT deployments?   

This article details which operators worldwide have completed their 2G network shutdown, which countries still support 2G & when operators in these countries will be switching off their 2G services to make way for newer technologies.   

 

What is 2G?  

2G stands for second-generation mobile network.   

Launched in 1991, its use of digital radio signals introduced a wide range of benefits for mobile phone users using cellular networks:  

  • Basic data services allowed users to text and send pictures  
  • Digital encryption enabled more secure phone conversations   
  • Allowed a more efficient use of radio spectrum, reducing costs by enabling more users on each frequency band.   

2G GSM takes the form of two standards, GPRS & EDGE. Both standards are extremely slow by modern standards. GPRS sees download speeds of up to 114 Kbps, while its successor EDGE still only sees up to 237 Kbps.   

  

2g switch off

 

What is 2G used for?  

In countries where 2G is still turned on, you are only likely to get a 2G connection on your mobile in rural areas as a fallback option when more modern networks like 4G or 5G have yet to be rolled out.  

2G is also popular for cellular IoT applications. This is because it:  

  • Offers wide coverage capability  
  • Has globally standardised infrastructure  
  • Works well both indoors & outdoors  
  • Uses less power than other networks   
  • IoT modules using 2G are cheaper than those using 4G   

This means that for many countries, including the UK, many applications including smart meters, vehicle tracking devices & emergency call systems, still rely on 2G to function.   

  

Why is 2G being switched off?  

Radio spectrum is a precious finite resource. The US government has raised over $230 billion by selling rights to private companies to use dedicated spectrum bands exclusively.   

2G networks worldwide sit on the 900 & 1800 MHz bands. When 2G networks are turned off, the spectrum owned by each network operator can be recycled for 4G/5G networks which offer far greater connectivity options for consumers.   

For example, you could reasonably expect a 5G connection to offer you 150 Mbps download speed when gaming or video streaming. This is 750x faster than the speed a 2G connection could provide you with.   

  

2G Switch Off by Country  

The following alphabetical list shows which countries & operators around the world have or will shut down their 2G networks.   

Operators not on the list may not have publicly stated their plans for their 2G networks.  

Please note that this list was compiled in July 2022 & we will not be regularly checking for updates.   

  

Australia   

  • Telstra – Closed in December 2016  
  • Optus – Closed in August 2017   
  • Vodafone – Closed in June 2018  

 

Bahrain   

  • Batelco – Closed in November 2021   

 

Belgium  

  • Orange – Closing before December 2030   

 

Brunei   

  • DST – Closed in June 2021  
  • Imagine - Closed in June 2021  
  • Progresif - Closed in June 2021  

 

Canada  

  • Telus – Closed in May 2017  
  • Rogers – Closed in December 2021  
  • Bell – Closed in April 2019  

 

China  

  • China Telecom – Closed in June 2020  
  • China Unicom – Closed in December 2021  

 

Colombia   

  • Claro – Closing before December 2022  

 

France  

  • Orange – Closing before December 2025  

 

Germany   

  • Vodafone – Closing before December 2025  

 

Hong Kong  

  • Three – Closed in September 2021  
  • China Mobile – Closed in December 2021  
  • HKT – Closed in September 2021  
  • SmarTone – Closed in December 2021  

 

Israel   

  • Partner Communications – Closing before December 2025   
  • Cellcom – Closing before December 2025   

 

Italy  

  • Vodafone – Closing before December 2025  
  • Telecom Italia – Closing before December 2029   

 

Japan   

  • Softbank – Closed in March 2010   
  • NTT Docomo – Closed in March 2012   
  • KDDI – Closed in 2020  

 

Luxembourg  

  • Orange – Closing before December 2030   

 

Mexico  

  • AT&T – Closed in March 2019   
  • Movistar – Closed in January 2021  

 

Netherlands  

  • Vodafone – Closing before December 2025   
  • T-Mobile – Closing before June 2023  

 

New Zealand   

  • 2degrees – Closed in March 2018  
  • Vodafone – Closing before December 2025   
  • Spark – Closed in July 2012  

 

Norway  

  • Telenor – Closing before December 2025  
  • Telia – Closing before December 2025   

 

Pakistan   

  • Telenor – Closing before December 2025   

 

Poland   

  • Orange – Closing before December 2030   

 

Romania  

  • Orange – Closing before December 2030   
  • Vodafone – Closing before December 2025   

 

Singapore   

  • MobileOne – Closed in April 2018  
  • Singtel - Closed in April 2018  
  • Starhub - Closed in April 2018  

 

Spain   

  • Orange – Closing before December 2030  
  • Vodafone – Closing before December 2025  

 

Slovakia   

  • Orange – Closing before December 2030  
  • Vodafone – Closing before December 2025   

 

South Africa   

  • Telkom – Closed in 2020  

 

South Korea  

  • KT – Closed in March 2012  
  • LG Uplus – Closed in June 2021  
  • SK Telcom – Closed in July 2020  

 

Switzerland   

  • Swisscom – Closed in December 2020  
  • Sunrise – Closing before December 2022  

 

Taiwan   

  • Chunghwa Telecom – Closed in June 2017  
  • FarEasTone – Closed in June 2017   
  • Taiwan Mobile – Closed in June 2017   

 

United Arab Emirates   

  • Du – Closing in December 2022  
  • Etisalat – Closing in December 2022  

 

United Kingdom   

  • EE – Closing before December 2033  
  • Vodafone – Closing before December 2033  
  • O2 – Closing before December 2033  
  • Three – Have never run a 2G network  

 

United States   

  • AT&T – Closed in January 2017  
  • T-Mobile – Closing before December 2022  
  • Verizon – Closed in December 2020  

  

Commonly Asked Questions   

 

When is 2G being switched off in the UK?  

The UK government confirmed in December 2021 that the 2G mobile networks will be phased out by 2033.   

  

When is the EE 2G switch off?  

EE has committed to phasing out 2G by the end of this decade. This will be after its 3G shutdown in 2024.  

  

When is the O2 2G switch off?  

O2 has committed to closing its 2G network by the decade's end 

  

When is the Vodafone 2G switch off?  

In most countries, Vodafone is turning off its 2G networks by December 2025. However, the CEO of Vodafone UK, Ahmed Essam, has confirmed Vodafone's 2G network in the UK will last "a decade longer" 

  

When is the 2G switch off Australia?  

All 2G networks in Australia have been shut down since June 2018. 

 

What is Streetwave?

At Streetwave, we produce mobile coverage maps that show the coverage and quality of the mobile networks in the places where people live and work.

Our software tracks the decommissioning of the old 2G & 3G networks, while also allowing you to track the roll-out of newer networks like 4G & 5G.

You can find out more information on our homepage.

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