Australia's Optus has become the latest operator to set out a roadmap for retiring its 2G network, revealing plans to shut down its 2G GSM network on April 1 2017.
The SingTel subsidiary plans to switch off the network to free up spectrum to improve its 3G and 4G services.
Customers still using 2G devices and plans will need to upgrade, and Optus' MVNO customers including Virgin Mobile will also be affected.
Optus has been operating its 2G network since 1993, but the network is increasingly being rendered obsolete, according to Optus Networks acting managing director Dennis Wong.
“Greater smartphone usage and advances in 4G technology are driving customer preferences for more mobile data and faster speeds and there has been a steady decline in 2G traffic and customers in the last few years,” he said.
“[Accordingly] 2G now constitutes a fraction of our total mobile network traffic and is declining significantly year on year. Mobile service providers globally, including in Australia and our parent company SingTel in Singapore, are closing down 2G networks to support newer technologies.”
Optus' main competitor in Australia, Telstra, plans to switch off its own 2G network by the end of next year. SingTel, along with the other Singaporean mobile operators, have secured approval to shutter their own 2G networks in April 2017.