Orange aims to phase out 2G and 3G networks across its footprint between 2025 and 2030, as part of efforts to divert spectrum to 4G and 5G and prioritise investments for next-generation network technologies.
The operator plans to implement the sunsetting process in two phases: in France, where national 3G coverage is historically higher than 2G coverage, Orange will decommission its 2G network by the end of 2025, whilst 3G will be phased out by the end of 2028.
For Belgium, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Spain, 3G will be switched off by 2025 and 2G will be phased out by 2030, depending on each subsidiary’s specific plans, which may vary slightly from one country to the other.
Michael Trabbia, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for the Orange Group, said phasing out legacy technologies such as 2G and 3G will enable the operator to “focus on building future-proof, resilient, automated, energy efficient and optimised networks”.
“This focus on maximising the efficiency of our networks will also contribute to reducing our carbon emissions and help us meet our sustainability targets of becoming ‘net zero’ by 2040,” he said.
Orange confirmed that the radio frequencies currently used for 2G and 3G will improve the overall capacity and coverage of 4G and 5G networks, both in urban and rural areas.
Noting that some IoT services use 2G and 3G connectivity, the operator said it will “work closely with IoT customers to identify amongst the range of future-proof technologies, the best IoT connectivity alternative according to their specific needs. Orange will advise and support its enterprise customers through their migration path”.