Did the end of the era of 3G networks and 3G phones come? Is the world slowly saying goodbye to the networks that have completely changed our lives? Why is Shutdown of Networks a necessary step and how will it affect our lives and Internet use?
3G mobile networks have left an indelible mark on the lives of many generations over the last 20 years or so. Thanks to these networks, we realized what the Internet brings us and what private and business opportunities it opens up for us. But, everything beautiful comes to an end eventually, so did 3G networks.
In recent years and months, there has been increasing talk about how 3G networks are going down in history. Some countries have already started shutting them down, while others plan to do so in the near future. Interestingly, some countries will shut down 3G networks before shutting down 2G networks, which confuses many a bit.
Find out below why 3G networks are shutting down, how they will shut down, and what will replace them:
How Did the Era of 3G Networks Begin?
The era of 3G networks began in the last century, although many probably think that the era began much later. Namely, in some parts of the world, those less developed, the development and implementation of 3G networks was somewhat slower than in the rest of the planet, so many associate 3G networks with the period after 2002. Yet history shows something quite different.
The development and implementation of third-generation mobile networks began in the 1990s. Thanks to strong telecom players, Europe was in an extremely favorable position at that time, so the development of the 3G network was relatively fast. Let’s not forget that at that time the European market was dominated by Nokia and Ericsson, which were one of the leaders in the mobile market worldwide.
At the end of 1998, the Council of the European Union passed a regulation requiring all members of the European Union to commit to the introduction of 3G networks for a period of 3 years. In particular, EU members were to enable the introduction of a third-generation mobile network by January 1, 2002. This enabled the rapid expansion of the 3G network throughout Europe and the introduction of a single European network system that raised the economy to a higher level.
What Have We All Gained by the Introduction of 3G Networks?
The introduction of 3G networks has changed our lives completely. Advanced and fast 3G networks have become an important factor in the development of society and the economy worldwide. With the introduction of 3G networks in wider applications, it was possible to surf the mobile Internet at speeds of up to about 14 Mbit/s. Although that speed seems ridiculous to us today compared to today’s speeds, then that speed represented a huge shift in the understanding and use of mobile Internet. The 3G standard was very quickly defined as a set of sub-standards, the most famous of which are UMTS (European 3G), TD-SCDMA (Chinese 3G), and CDMA2000 (American 3G).
3G networks marked the beginning of the era of smartphones we know today. At the beginning of this century, smartphones didn’t yet exist, but there were more advanced versions of cell phones that could open certain websites. Thus, we can say that 3G has opened the door to the use of mobile networks as we know them today. Today, users are connected to mobile networks at every step and surf the Internet at all times, no matter where they are.
Of course, mobile 3G networks got their full purpose when Apple introduced the world’s first smartphone. After that, there was a need for even better and better expansion of modern mobile networks, and 3G as a foundation was increasingly losing its popularity. Today, it’s clear to everyone that fewer and fewer people are using 3G networks, as most enjoy much faster 4G and 5G networks. However, some users still surf on 3G networks, which only shows how the importance of these networks is preserved to this day. One thing is for sure: 3G networks have begun the era of mobile telephony as known to the whole world today.
Today, 3G Networks Are Losing Their Meaning and Functionality
We’re currently in an era dominated by 4G networks, with an indication that more and more users are actually using innovative 5G networks. In recent years, there has been a big shift away from 3G networks, so it’s not surprising that some countries have decided to completely withdraw 3G networks from use. Thanks to the increasing speeds of 4G and 5G Internet, somewhat outdated 3G networks are increasingly losing their meaning of existence.
We mentioned above that 3G networks allowed speeds of up to 14 Mbit/s, but it is worth noting that the average speeds of 3G networks were generally much lower. By comparison, today’s current 4G speeds can reach up to 150 Mbit/s, while innovative ultra-fast 5G networks go up to 1,000 Mbit/s (1 Gbit/s). The difference between 3G and 4G speeds actually amounts to an improvement of as much as 10 times, which is very significant.
Due to the high speeds of 4G and 5G networks that users are accustomed to today, slow 3G networks no longer interest anyone. Thus, the existence of such networks becomes superfluous, especially since they consume large resources unnecessarily. Of course, the shutdown of 3G networks mustn’t be carried out before all areas are well covered by 4G or 5G signals. But in countries where territories are fully equipped with 4G or 5G signals, the existence of 3G networks has completely lost its meaning.
The Shutdown of 3G Networks Around the World Has Begun
Now the end of the mobile era has officially come. Of course, each end is also a new beginning and we as users should look forward to this end of 3G networks because we are getting new 4G and 5G networks that’ll have a much better opportunity. More and more countries are hinting at or already implementing 3G shutdowns.
Taiwan was among the first to decide to shut down 3G networks, starting the shutdown process in 2018. Although we aren’t sure how the process is going in that advanced state, we believe it’s nearing completion or is over. The plan was to shut down 3G networks by the end of 2018, regardless of the fact that more than 200,000 inhabitants weren’t yet covered by 4G signals at that time. It was an interesting and somewhat drastic move because a huge number of people were left without a signal during the transition to the new 4G networks.
A similar story is unfolding in Norway where back in 2015 a decision was made to shut down 3G networks in parallel with the introduction of new 5G networks. Of course, the transition period should be marked by 4G networks, but the ultimate goal is the widespread introduction of 5G networks. Of course, many other (European) countries have taken this path, and in parallel with the introduction of 5G networks, old and dilapidated 3G networks that are no longer used are being shut down.
Why Do 3G Networks Shut Down Before 2G Networks?
Although it sounds a bit contradictory, 3G networks will be shut down before 2G networks. Many devices around the world still use 2G networks today, so shutting down these networks is a huge problem that’ll be difficult to deal with. In order to enable the shutdown of 2G networks, it will be necessary to switch all the infrastructure to 4G or 5G, and we’ll see how this will go.
A good example of this is certainly Norway, where the shutdown of 3G networks is already at an advanced stage, while the planning of shutting down 2G networks is planned only for 2025. The problem in this whole story about shutting down 2G networks is M2M, that is, devices that communicate with devices. With such devices, the speed of 2G is quite sufficient and therefore there has been no upgrade of these systems for years. Therefore, there is a risk of such devices falling if 2G networks are shut down.
To keep the M2M system alive, the shutdown of 2G networks has been delegated for now. Thus, 3G networks that have changed human history and introduced the Internet to the big doors to many users, will be shut down before the old-fashioned 2G networks of miserable speeds. However, end-users shouldn’t worry about shutting down either 3G or 2G networks because improving the system will enable better and faster operation of some devices that we use regularly.
The Future of Mobile Internet in 5G Networks
And while 3G is going down in history, 5G technology is rapidly coming to the scene, which will enable a completely new dimension of communication and use of the Internet. Research shows that 5G networks are being introduced 4 times faster than previous generations of networks, which only confirms that we’ll all be surfing at 5G speeds very soon.
Surfing at 5G speeds certainly delights many current and future users because 5G speeds are really great. In the final phase of the implementation of 5G networks, this new technology should enable data transfer of as much as 1Gbit/s. Compared to 3G networks, this speeds up data transfer by as much as 100 times. Just imagine how things can be done on 100 times faster mobile networks. For instance, it takes less time to make transactions, which will benefit, say, the best online casinos in Estonia and others. Also, because of the higher speeds, players will be able to play a wider variety of casino games, which will make the experience more fun.
With the advent of 5G networks, the current 4G networks will remain a ‘fuse’ in areas where 5G won’t yet be in full swing. Although we’re a little sad that 3G networks are leaving the scene, we’re looking forward to the possibilities that new ultra-fast 5G networks bring with them.
Along with 3G networks, 3G phones are also falling out of use. Such phones will simply become unusable because you won’t be able to connect to modern types of networks with them. Part of the users who have old devices could be in trouble because the phones will have to support 4G technology in order to be able to work on mobile networks. The calling and texting system itself hasn’t changed and has remained the same for years, but surfing the Internet on 3G will no longer be possible.
In the end, we have nothing else to say but: Goodbye 3G and welcome to the new fast 5G network!