Swiss operator Sunrise will be the first of the country’s operators to switch off its “outdated” 2G network and move customers onto newer technologies.
The company said it would stop supporting 2G-only handsets by the end of 2017, three years ahead of rival Swisscom – which is scheduled to switch off its service by the end of 2020.
CEO Olaf Swantee (pictured) said Sunrise would offer upgrades to business customers and accelerate the roll-out of its 4G-based networks as it removed the 2G capability.
“Business and private customers are using more and more mobile services,” the company said in a statement, adding: “Sunrise, always pushing to offer the very best service quality, will remove outdated 2G technology, which no longer meets today’s quality standards, from its network, ahead of its competitors.”
Sunrise is the second largest operator in the country by connections. In Q1 2017 it had a 22 per cent market share, according to GSMA Intelligence (GSMAi) figures, but lagged well behind Swisscom which had a 61 per cent share.
According to GSMAi estimates for Q1 2017, 8.6 per cent of Sunrise’s connections still relied on 2G technology, compared to 9.6 per cent for Swisscom.
The country’s other operator, Salt, has a 17 per cent market share and 7 per cent of its base on 2G.
Sunrise follows other operators in switching off 2G networks. Australia’s largest operator Telstra turned off 2G at the end of last year, with rivals Optus and Vodafone planning to follow in April and September 2017, respectively. Singapore’s three carriers Singtel, StarHub and M1 also all switched off their 2G networks earlier this year. In the US number two player AT&T turned off its 2G network at the turn of the year.