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The 2G & 3G Shutdowns

The 2G & 3G Shutdowns

The raft of rationales


Innovation and changes are a major driver for technology-based industries. Mobile networks are constantly evolving, changing, and innovating in a cyclical movement. An old technology disappears when a new one emerges. Less effective networks have to be decommissioned to allow deployment and success of more effective ones.

The mobile industry is currently experiencing a turn. In 2017, LTE reached its mid-stream and 5G is heating up. 2G networks started to be shutdown in Asia and in the USA. Some European MNOs announced plans to close their old networks and migrate to LTE or 5G.

  • What is the rationale behind this?
  • Better decommission 2G or 3G first?
In this report, in order to provide a clearer view, we made a bottom-up research on decommissioning announcements and completion dates for a vast number of countries worldwide.


1. Executive Summary
2. Methodology & definitions
3. A continental drift, or rift?
3.1. The natural endgame for 2G/3G, starting now
3.2. State of the art in network decommissioning
3.2.1. Asia shows the way
3.2.2. A rift between ‘Asia-America’ and Europe
3.2.3. … accompanied by incentives
3.3. Governmental incentives can apply to national shutdowns
3.3.1. The AMPS case with the FCC’s support stop
3.3.2. The MIC push to terminate PDC in Japan
3.3.3. IMDA support in Singapore
3.3.4. The prescriptive government in Taiwan
3.4. Two major countries where MNOs anticipated shutdowns
3.4.1. The KT case in South Korea
3.4.2. The AT&T case in the United States
3.5. The geographic mix of customers
3.5.1. Shutdown decision and mix of customers
3.5.2. 4G adoption was faster than 3G adoption
4. The 2G and 3G Shutdowns: MNOs are divided
4.1. The benefits of shutting down networks
4.1.1. Spectral efficiency as 4G can now replace both 2G and 3G
4.1.2. Freeing up valuable spectrum
4.1.3. Network efficiency
4.2. The risks of shutting down a network
4.2.1. Voice/SMS coverage
4.2.2. LTE is almost ready for M2M services
4.2.3. Cost of shutting down networks
4.3. 2G and/or 3G shutdown is MNO- and country-dependent
4.3.1. Market drivers
4.3.2. The theoretical economic equation
5. Country & Player Strategies
5.1. USA
5.1.1. Country overview
5.1.2. A market already familiar with network shutdowns
5.1.3. The situation today
5.1.4. Content push
5.1.5. AT&T was first US player to shut down 2G, despite its major M2M base
5.1.6. Verizon Wireless
5.1.7. Sprint, the first to decommission a 2G network in the USA
5.2. Netherlands
5.2.1. Country overview
5.2.2. A market dominated by KPN
5.2.3. A significant M2M market
5.2.4. Spectrum summary
5.2.5. VodafoneZiggo
5.3. Switzerland, a market with varying visions of shutdown
5.3.1. Country overview
5.3.2. Swisscom
5.3.3. Sunrise
5.4. Norway
5.4.1. Country overview
5.4.2. Major characteristics
5.5. Japan
5.5.1. Country overview
5.5.2. The first market to fully shut down its 2G network
5.5.3. Spectrum summary
6. Annexes
6.1. Brief overview of existing mobile technologies
6.2. Brief overview of existing NB-IoT technologies
7. Glossary
List of tables and figures
Tables
Table 1: State of the art in decommissioning in selected countries
Table 2: Mobile population coverage in the USA
Table 3: Projected cellular M2M subscriptions
Table 4: USA country summary on 2G
Table 5: USA country summary on 3G
Table 6: USA country summary on 4G
Table 7: Mobile population coverage in the USA
Table 8: Status of IoT Technologies, by operator, in the USA
Table 9: Spectrum holdings, by frequency band, in the USA
Table 10: Spectrum holdings, by operator, in the USA
Table 11: AT&T key figures
Table 12: AT&T mobile technology portfolio
Table 13: AT&T spectrum acquisitions in recent years
Table 14: Verizon Wireless key figures
Table 15: Verizon Wireless mobile technology portfolio
Table 16: Verizon Wireless spectrum acquisitions in recent years
Table 17: Sprint mobile technology portfolio
Table 18: Netherlands country summary on 2G
Table 19: Netherlands country summary on 3G
Table 20: Netherlands country summary on 4G
Table 21: Mobile population coverage in the Netherlands
Table 22: Status of IoT technologies, by operator, in the Netherlands
Table 23: Spectrum holdings, by frequency band, in the Netherlands
Table 24: Spectrum holdings, by operator, in the Netherlands
Table 25: Switzerland country summary on 2G
Table 26: Switzerland country summary on 3G
Table 27: Switzerland country summary on 4G
Table 28: Swisscom key figures
Table 29: Swisscom mobile technology portfolio
Table 30: Swisscom spectrum acquisitions in recent years
Table 31: Sunrise key figures
Table 32: Sunrise mobile technology portfolio
Table 33: Sunrise spectrum acquisitions in recent years
Table 34: Norway country summary on 2G
Table 35: Norway country summary on 3G
Table 36: Norway country summary on 4G
Table 37: Telenor key figures
Table 38: Telenor mobile technology portfolio
Table 39: Telenor spectrum acquisitions in recent years
Table 40: Japan country summary on 2G
Table 41: Japan country summary on 3G
Table 42: Japan country summary on 4G
Table 43: NTT DOCOMO mobile technology portfolio
Table 44: Mobile population coverage in Japan
Table 45: Spectrum acquisitions in recent years in Japan
Table 46: Spectrum holdings by frequency band (MHz), excluding PHS and WiMAX, in Japan
Table 47: Mobile technologies specifications
Table 48: Main features of IoT networking technologies
Table 49: Main features of competing technologies
Figures
Figure 1: Worldwide 2G/3G shutdowns
Figure 2: Evolution of mobile services (subscribers) in Korea
Figure 3: KT subscribers: changes in subscriber mix
Figure 4: Geographic mix of customers by technology in selected Asian-US and European countries
Figure 5: Discrepancies in customer adoption between 3G and 4G
Figure 6: Shutting down 2G/3G networks: drivers and challenges
Figure 7: LTE coverage in leading LTE countries
Figure 8: 2G, 3G and 4G benefits and limitations
Figure 9: Shutdown decision tree
Figure 10: Basics on customer migrations
Figure 11: Basics on reuse of frequencies
Figure 12: Volume market shares (major player) in 2016 and ARPU trend, in the USA
Figure 13: Verizon 5G rollout strategy
Figure 14: Volume market shares (major players) in 2016 and ARPU evolution, in the Netherlands
Figure 15: Volume market shares (major players) in 2016 and ARPU evolution, in Switzerland
Figure 16: Volume market shares (major players) in 2016 and ARPU evolution, in Norway
Figure 17: Volume market shares (major players) in 2016 and ARPU evolution
Figure 18: Landscape of IoT / M2M networking technologies

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