Deutsche Telekom became the third major operator in Germany to set an end date for its 3G service, revealing plans to switch off the network on 30 June 2021 to clear spectrum for 4G and 5G.
The announcement appears to cement the end of 3G access in the country by end-2022, when Telefonica Deutschland plans to shutter its network: Vodafone Germany previously scheduled closure on the same day as Deutsche Telekom.
Deutsche Telekom said it will fill 3G coverage gaps with 4G service, though users without a compatible device will be relegated to its 2G network. It added nearly all tariffs already include 4G access, meaning customers won’t have to pay extra.
Dirk Wossner, Deutsche Telekom board member and CEO of Telekom Deutschland, stated the move will make way for “the most modern technologies” as the operator presses ahead with its 5G rollout in Germany.
Progress on 3G shutdowns continues around the globe, with executives at Indian operator Bharti Airtel stating in June work on this front was nearly complete, and Telefonica targeting the closure of its network in Spain in 2025.
US operators Verizon and AT&T plan to retire their networks at end-2020 and February 2022, respectively.