Finland’s 3G networks will shut down in 2023 and 2024

Mobile operators worldwide have begun shutting down their 2G and 3G mobile networks. The sunsetting of old networks is also on the agenda of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) for 2023.

Finland’s mobile operators will phase out their 3G mobile phone networks in 2023 and 2024. In the future, operators will invest in newer network technologies (4G and 5G) that can better serve current and future needs.

The 4G IoT network – the successor to 3G – will be available throughout Finland by 2024, and the LTE-M network already covers the entire country. In addition, more and more devices compatible with these networks have been launched.

Over about 30 years, four generations of mobile technologies have arisen, all requiring separate spectrum resources, energy, technical devices, and expert personnel to develop and maintain them. Since the end of the 2010s, 3G has become significantly less important. Very few customers still use it.

When 2G and 3G are consigned to history, more network capacity will be freed up for new, more secure, and more energy-efficient 4G and 5G networks. New network technologies will further facilitate the development and exploitation of smart electricity networks and related solutions. For this reason, regulations in certain industries, such as the eCall regulation for vehicles, must not impede the closure of 2G and 3G networks.

If you are still using 3G mobile data services, now is a good time to upgrade your phone or tablet to a 4G or 5G model. On the other hand, if you only use voice and text messaging services, they will continue to work as before on your existing phone.

2G will also reach the end of the line in the coming years

 The 2G network is over 30 years old and is now mainly used only for voice and text messaging traffic. The number of 2G mobile phones has been in decline for several years. The outdated technology consumes a lot of energy and occupies valuable spectrum capacity. Maintaining this technology slows the development of 4G. Already now, the population coverage of 4G in Finland is the same as that of the current 2G network.

In principle, 2G SIM cards purchased since 2010 will also work in Finland’s 4G and 5G networks. However, the SIM card must be a micro or nano model. Old, traditional-sized SIM cards will need to be replaced.

Marko Lahtinen, Legal Affairs Manager, FiCom