SINGAPORE: Singapore’s three major mobile network operators – Singtel, StarHub, and M1 – announced they will phase out their 3G services by July 31, 2024, amid the rise of more advanced mobile communication technologies, according to a Wednesday statement by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
The shift away from the 3G network, which currently serves approximately 100,000 individual subscribers across the Republic, is set to enhance the capabilities of 4G and 5G services. The telcos confirmed that the discontinued services will include 3G voice, messaging, and data.
“Retiring the 3G networks will allow mobile operators to repurpose the freed-up spectrum to enhance 5G services. The upgraded network will offer faster speeds, higher data throughput, and enhanced security and reliability,” the mobile network operators stated.
The IMDA assured users that measures have been set in place to ensure a smooth transition from 3G to the advanced networks. These include offering individual users options to convert from 3G to 4G plans without being financially disadvantaged. Additionally, a variety of mobile phone options at different price points will be made available.
Enterprise users have not been left behind. Operators are committed to providing support for seamless migration to 4G or other alternative services, aiming to minimize disruption to their existing services.
With this transition, retailers will cease the sale of 3G mobile phones and 4G models that require 3G for voice calls, effective from February 1, 2024. This restriction does not apply to export purposes.
“This one-year transition period is designed to allow mobile network operators adequate time to engage and migrate their remaining 3G subscribers before the retirement of their 3G services,” IMDA explained.
Subscribers are urged to contact their respective mobile network operators for more information and assistance concerning the change. Those using 3G-only SIM cards can visit their operator’s website to learn how to upgrade their SIM cards.
The retirement of 3G services is a global trend. Countries like Australia and Britain are anticipated to phase out 3G services by 2024, while others, including the United States and Malaysia, have already retired their 3G services, IMDA added.
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