Plans to shut down 2G and 3G in South Africa

Switching off South Africa’s 2G and 3G networks will be a difficult task for mobile network operators and the country’s independent communications authority (Icasa).
Operators will have to collaborate with Icasa to streamline the network shutdown, which MTN and Vodacom have estimated may take several years.
“This process will be tightly controlled and communicated by industry stakeholders,” Vodacom told MyBroadband. “It is expected to be completed within the next few years.”

MTN has stated that it is thinking about turning off 3G initially.

“We believe it would be several years before MTN switches off 2G, due to the long tail of 2G usage, and as a result, MTN is considering a 3G turnoff before 2G.”

Reallocating radio frequency spectrum – wireless network capacity — for 4G and 5G is the fundamental motivation behind the shutdown of South Africa’s 2G and 3G networks.
Many organizations, on the other hand, rely on the 2G network since they operate on antiquated machine-to-machine and Internet of Things technology.
In South Africa, Vodacom told MyBroadand that it employs all available ways to migrate subscribers away from antiquated systems.

“The cessation or reduction in the availability of legacy technology services necessitates a collaborative industry-led strategy and legislative framework to ensure that all South Africans may move from old to newer technologies,” the report continued.

In terms of spectrum resources, Vodacom claims that 2G and 3G networks are inefficient.

“Old technologies like 2G and 3G are being phased out.”

“In South Africa, shutting down older networks would enable more people to become data-enabled, as well as benefit from improved voice quality, more data capacity, and increased efficiency on 4G and 5G networks.”
“Notably, the improved spectrum efficiency given by emerging technologies like as 4G and 5G also helps mobile operators reduce operating expenses, resulting in lower customer pricing,” Vodacom stated.

In South Africa, newer technologies such as 4G have become the norm.

“At the moment, LTE/4G is MTN’s leading mobile technology, which we expect to grow as compatible phones become more widely available,” MTN said.

“In South Africa, shutting down older networks would enable more people to become data-enabled, as well as benefit from improved voice quality, more data capacity, and increased efficiency on 4G and 5G networks.”
“Notably, the improved spectrum efficiency given by emerging technologies like as 4G and 5G also helps mobile operators reduce operating expenses, resulting in lower customer pricing,” Vodacom stated.

In South Africa, newer technologies such as 4G have become the norm.

“At the moment, LTE/4G is MTN’s leading mobile technology, which we expect to grow as compatible phones become more widely available,” MTN said.

Another factor driving the projected legacy system shutdown is Icasa’s long-awaited spectrum auction, which is set to take place on March 8, 2022.
South African network providers have stated that any more spectrum they obtain will allow them to expand 4G and 5G coverage while also lowering mobile data pricing in the country.
“In the lack of fresh spectrum, providers such as Vodacom must install more base stations to cope with the continuous growth in data traffic,” Vodacom warned.
Following many extensions of the provisionally assigned spectrum, the auction — which has been delayed several times, most recently due to legal action — will give much-needed clarity for South Africa’s mobile network carriers.

Information sourced from My Broadband, Myles Illidge

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