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The end of the 3G era: New Zealand shuts down outdated mobile networks

    New Zealand’s mobile operators – 2degrees, One NZ, and Spark – will completely shut down their outdated 3G networks by the end of 2025. Thus, they plan to free up spectrum for the deployment of more modern and faster 4G and 5G technologies.

    Why is this transition taking place? First, 3G no longer meets the growing demand for data transfer and access to multimedia services. 2degrees explains that the demand for 3G devices has dropped significantly, so the company stopped selling them in 2022. One NZ notes that the transition to 4G/5G will improve the quality of voice communication and data transfer speed.

    Secondly, the freed-up frequency spectrum will be used to expand the availability of the latest mobile technologies throughout the country. In particular, Spark emphasizes that the 3G switch-off will facilitate the wider deployment of 5G, even in rural areas of New Zealand.

    For ordinary users who already have modern 4G/5G devices, this transformation will go unnoticed.However, those who still use old 3G phones, tablets or smart gadgets should be sure to replace them by the end of 2025 to avoid losing their connection.
    The 3G shutdown schedule is as follows:One NZ will shut down the network on March 31, 2025, and 2degrees and Spark will close at the end of 2025.However, the operators warn that even after the 3G shutdown, outdated devices will continue to operate on the second-generation network for some time, but with very low internet speeds and call quality.However, at the end of 2025, the 2G network will also be shut down.
    For consumers, this means the need to replace outdated gadgets in a timely manner.The operators have already sent out the first notifications, and by the end of 2024 they will individually inform all 3G users about the necessary steps.
    Without updating their devices to 4G/5G, people risk losing access to mobile internet, calls and even emergency calls.

    Those subscribers whose devices prove to be incompatible with the new networks will be able to choose a replacement from a wide range of 4G/5G gadgets offered by all three operators.
    Older, unwanted models can be handed in for recycling to the operators’ stores through the nationwide RE:MOBILE scheme operating in New Zealand.
    For businesses and other corporate customers, the process of switching to new technologies can be more complicated.In particular, many more Internet of Things (IoT) devices, including various sensors, trackers and security systems, are still operating thanks to 3G.They also need to be replaced or migrated to new networks in a timely manner.To help businesses with these issues, operators offer special support.
    Of course, the process of network modernization also faces some unclear issues.In particular, there is still the issue of 4G/5G coverage in remote regions of the country where only 3G is available.The future of mobile communications for vulnerable groups of the population and the possibility of international roaming after the 3G shutdown are also unresolved.
    However, operators assure that they are working on this.

    In general, the planned shutdown of outdated 3G networks will be an important step for the development of high-speed mobile communications in New Zealand. The transition to the latest 4G and 5G technologies will provide access to modern Internet services and multimedia content, as well as improve call quality.