Singtel, StarHub and M1 unveiled plans to shut down their 3G networks from 31 July 2024, with all three to repurpose the spectrum to improve 5G services.

The closure will cover 3G voice, messaging and data, which run on the 2100MHz and 900MHz spectrum bands.

All three operators’ current 3G licences expire in 2033.

Data from GSMA Intelligence showed Singtel had 221,000 3G connections at end Q2, StarHub 183,000 and M1 134,000.

In a joint statement, the operators noted they have been pressing 3G customers to migrate to 4G or 5G services in recent years and plan to implement measures in the coming months to help users shift to other networks.

Singtel had 2.7 million 3G connections at end-Q2 2013, while StarHub and M1 each had 1.5 million.

Many operators in advanced markets across Asia Pacific have closed or announced plans to shut their 3G networks.

KDDI made the move in early 2022, with SoftBank Corp targeting January 2024 and NTT Docomo early 2026.

Spark New Zealand plans completion by end-2025.

European operators are also well-advanced in sunset plans, with many citing access to the freed-up spectrum along with cutting their power consumption as factors.