The second European operator has already announced the shutdown of its 3G network. The first was the German Vodafone, which is considering getting rid of the older technology network by 2020. A similar decision was taken by the Dutch branch of the same company. Why is Vodafone going to turn off 3G technology? The frequencies acquired in this way will be allocated to the expansion of its 4G LTE network.
Older radio technologies are slowly dying out. Unfortunately, in the case of mobile telephony, next generations do not offer backward compatibility. However, the standards developed under 3GPP predict their coexistence. Therefore, operators can build base stations that support several technologies and their clients have multi-system devices. However, each of the mobile communication systems (i.e. 2G GSM, 3G UMTS and 4G LTE) must operate on different frequencies. While booking for the use of each frequency block costs, so the operators want to use their resources in the most efficient way. Currently LTE enables it.
The Dutch Vodafone will only offer 2G and 4G from 2020.
European operators will not be willing to disable the GSM network, because it is used to provide M2M (Machine to Machine) communication services and voice calls for devices that do not support VoLTE. In turn, in the United States, one of the operators has already decided to turn off its 2G network, leaving at the same time working 3G. This shows that each market has its own rules. However, one thing is certain. None of the operators will decide to leave the 4G LTE network alone due to the lack of native VoLTE support by many devices. That’s why the older technology (i.e. 2G or 3G) will work in parallel, the task of which will be to handle voice calls and text messages.