Singapore's mobile operators will switch off 2G services from April 2017, and will now push to migrate their remaining 2G customers onto 3G networks.
Regulator IDA Singapore has approved a plan from the operators to shutter their 2G networks on April 1. As a condition, the operators will be required to smoothly migrate their 2G customers.
The operators have accordingly agreed to allow their 2G subscribers to continue with their existing plans at no extra cost after migrating to 3G.
They have also been asked to provide low-cost 3G phones for any customers still using 2G-only handsets.
IDA noted that the number of 2G subscribers has been falling rapidly steadily, having declined from over 2 million in mid-2011 to only around 250,000 today. This represents just 3% of Singapore's total mobile subscriptions. The nation's first 2G service went live in 1994.
Shutting down 2G networks will free up more spectrum for 3G and 4G services. IDA estimates that all three operators have achieved 99% nationwide coverage for 4G services and more than 98% of outdoor street-level coverage for 4G.
In a statement, SingTel said that Singapore's mobile operators will reach out to the remaining 2G-only users via channels including SMS, calls and posters to advise them of the network closures.