Skip to content
Главная страница » The last path of 3G: how the standard goes from Ukraine

The last path of 3G: how the standard goes from Ukraine

    It’s no secret that Ukrainian mobile operators are gradually winding down 3G. The main purpose of this is to free up spectrum for the more modern and efficient 4G standard. This process even has its own name – reforming.

    But cell companies can’t just turn off 3G and forget about it. There are devices on the network that work only in 2G and 3G networks, and disconnection of the third generation network will inevitably worsen the situation of such subscribers.

    Therefore, mobile operators have made the process of 3G rolling down gradual. Today we will talk about the main stages or ways of turning off the third generation of cellular communication in our country.


    The simplest and relatively easy first step in getting rid of 3G is to reduce the frequency band. As a rule, operators in Ukraine have 3 channels of 5 MHz width for the operation of this generation.

    It is obvious that you can turn off 2 of the 3 channels, forcing all 3G users into 1 band of 5 MHz, and launch LTE in the freed 10 MHz. Such a scenario is relatively painless, because the original coverage of the third generation does not decrease.

    The main disadvantage of such a step is a decrease in 3G capacity and a decrease in data transfer speed. But for most operators, these 3 channels have been gradually released for many years due to the gradual transition of subscribers to the 4G network as more modern smartphones are purchased.

    And if subscribers were content with 3G speeds all this time, for them this factor is not fundamental at all.


    Another possible scenario or phase of 3G rollout is 3G moving to a different band. For example, this standard can be moved from the usual 2100 MHz to 900 MHz.

    The advantage in this case is that the coverage of the same space by the 3G network can be provided with a smaller number of transceivers and base stations. Thus, it is possible to reduce the total number of operated equipment and nominally reduce the 3G network even more.

    The gain in this case: +5 MHz band for 4G in the 2100 band, which will give even more capacity in the most effective (currently in Ukraine) standard.

    And why not launch 4G at 900 MHz and leave 3G at 2100? The answer is obvious: such LTE stations will quickly become overloaded, since most operators have no more than 5 MHz of continuous bandwidth in this range. For 4G, this is very little, and for an almost empty 3G, it is just right.

    Turn off

    No matter how much the rope is twisted… and 3G still needs to be turned off. And some operators in certain regions and territories have already begun to implement this idea.

    The main difficulty for cellular companies is to retain subscribers. First of all, corporate customers who may have a lot of M2M devices (ATMs, payment terminals, sensors, alarms) that are not capable of working in 4G.

    There is only one way out – an individual approach. It is even possible to finance or co-finance the renewal of subscriber equipment. Yes, it is expensive and difficult for cell companies. But due to the critical shortage of spectrum, sooner or later they will come to this, if they haven’t already.