The 3G Sunset: Challenges for Voice and SMS

A critical transition we are witnessing globally is the gradual sunset of 3G networks by telecom operators, which is impacting customers using older mobile devices! While the 3G sunset brings numerous benefits, it also presents challenges for both operators and their subscribers, particularly in the realm of both voice and SMS services.

The 3G Sunset: Why It’s Happening

The decision to phase out 3G networks is driven by several compelling reasons:

  • Spectrum Efficiency: 3G networks use spectrum that can be repurposed for more efficient and faster technologies like 4G and 5G. This reallocation enables operators to meet the growing demand for high-speed data services.
  • Network Optimization: By focusing resources on newer networks, operators can optimize network performance and deliver a superior data experience to users.
  • Cost Reduction: Maintaining legacy 3G infrastructure is costly. Shutting it down allows operators to reduce operational expenses and reinvest in network modernization.
  • Global Standardization: Globally, the telecommunications industry is moving toward a standardized approach with 4G and 5G, ensuring interoperability and seamless connectivity for users worldwide.

Now, let us look at the challenges that mobile operators and mobile customers are facing due to the worldwide 3G switch off.

Challenges for Operators and Subscribers

While the benefits of transitioning to 4G and 5G are undeniable, the process presents challenges such as:

  • Device Compatibility: Older devices reliant on 3G mobile connectivity may face serious service disruptions. Subscribers may need to upgrade their handsets to continue using voice and SMS services. However, adoption of newer handsets might be slower, particularly for older demographics or in emergent regions.
  • Coverage Gaps: 3G networks often offer better coverage in certain areas, especially in rural or remote regions. The shutdown can create coverage gaps where newer networks are not yet available.
  • Need of Roaming Agreements: International roaming agreements may still rely on 3G for voice and SMS services. Operators need 3G roaming services for handsets without Voice over LTE (VoLTE) support or if the coverage is not sufficient.
  • Customer Communication: Informing subscribers about the 3G shutdown and guiding them through the transition is crucial to minimize disruptions and maintain customer satisfaction.

The Path Forward

By carefully managing the transition with the support of the right partners & alternative technologies, mobile network operators can minimize disruptions and ensure that mobile users continue to access mobile voice and SMS services they need, despite the 3G sunset.

Certainly, for subscribers it’s essential to stay informed and embrace the benefits of the latest network technologies that promise to deliver an even better mobile experience.

Is your company shutting down the 3G network? Are you encountering difficulties with the 3G shutdown?

Our voice experts can assist you in smoothly navigating this transition. Get in touch today to learn how our voice solutions help mobile operators to cover older devices, ensure voice and SMS coverage in remote areas and solve roaming issues.

Do you want to know more about Exomi Voice over Any Data? Read here or ask for a consultation.


About Exomi 

Exomi has been a trusted technology partner of major mobile operator groups for over 25 years. We are known for our technological expertise, adaptability and dedication to solving challenges with a no-nonsense attitude.