Orange unveils 2G, 3G switch off plan at MWC

Orange unveils 2G, 3G switch off plan at MWC


Orange has revealed its plan to switch off its 2G and 3G legacy networks by the end of the decade.

The announcement was made at Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona by Michael Trabbia, Orange’s chief technology and innovation officer.

Trabbia revealed that the carrier will phase out its 2G and 3G technologies from 2025 to 2030 across its European operations, freeing up spectrum for newer technologies – more specifically its 4G and 5G networks.

In France, 2G support will end by 2025 and 3G will follow by the end of 2028. The rest of Europe, though, will begin phasing out 3G across its European footprint outside of France with 2G removed by 2030.

Trabbia explained that this was because France’s 3G network was rolled out quicker and therefore became “better” and more enduring.

Removing its legacy networks is also part of Orange’s sustainability and responsibility targets as it continues its commitment to net zero carbon by 2040.

Energy consumption per gigabyte is much more efficient with newer technologies,” Trabbia said at a briefing at MWC Barcelona 2022.

“5G is around 10 times more efficient by 4G and by reusing this spectrum, we [Orange] can delay the time that additional spectrum is added to the network.”

The radio frequencies currently used for 2G and 3G will be used to improve the overall capacity and coverage of 4G and 5G networks both in urban and rural areas.

Trabbia calls this the “refarming” of its 900MHz spectrum meaning the operator will face less pressure to acquire more spectrum in upcoming auctions.

The operator faces no such pressure in Spain, however, after investing €350 million in its network in the country.

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