The death of 2G networks
More and more operators are announcing the shutdown of their 2G network, in a move to reallocate the spectrum for data services on 4G and better utilize the resource to deliver content to their subscribers. Telstra in Australia will be the next in line in December 2016, and many other operators are scheduled for 2017.
Shutting down 2G networks is a challenge. One of the key issue is the renewal of M2M equipment which has been deployed for some time and that has a long lifecycle (ATM, Payment Terminals, Smart Power Meters, Tracking Devices, etc.).
In some other countries, operators have leapfrogged 2G. For instance in Myanmar, Ooredoo has decided to launch a pure 3G greenfield network in 2014 and is now adding 4G on top. No 2G here.
That was a bold but smart move as the spectrum allocated in the tender was scarce and it is certainly more efficient to rollout U900 and U2100 altogether, as long as you can source 3G handsets at an affordable price from neighbouring China.
In Europe, several operators are actually considering a 3G shutdown before 2G, to maintain a dual 2G/4G network. However, in other continents, operators are ready to pull the plug on GSM/CDMA 1X.
Here is the latest list of 2G network shutdown, the one already done and the ones announced. Please let us know in the comments if you know some other networks which have already planned their 2G network switch-off.