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2G Network Shutdown in the UK: What You Need to Know

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If you are an avid 2G user, perhaps you've got an SMS alert from your mobile service provider about the network closure by 2033, affecting several devices depending on 2G networks for communication.

As a small business owner, you must know what to expect and be prepared to adapt your business to a new change. In this blog post, we will be exploring 2G shutdown, what service providers will be influenced by the 2G network switch off, and what can be a decent substitution for the network.

Why are the Providers Switching Off Their 2G Networks? 

Before we talk about the end of 2G, let’s define what it means. 2G stands for the second generation. This is a mobile phone network technology that was launched in the 1990s. 2G used for digital voice calls, text messaging, and basic data services such as email and browsing. 

One of the major reasons is that 2G just can't cope with the amount of sophisticated mobile technologies now available. 4G and 5G offer faster speeds, more reliable connections, and better coverage. With so many people now using smartphones – the demand for data is greater than ever before. Simply put – 2G simply can't cope with this demand and consequently is becoming obsolete. By switching off 2G, providers can concentrate on designing and improving their newer networks.

Which Providers Will Switch off the 2G Network?

So, which providers are going to shut down their 2G networks? Those are Vodafone, EE, and O2. For now, none of the major operators UCtel works with have announced a 2G switch off in the UK. However, what we know is that the switch off of the 2G connection will occur after they have switched off 3G networks. 

The UK government has received confirmation from mobile network operators that they have no plans to continue providing 2G mobile networks beyond 2033. 

Exploring Who is Affected by the 2G Network Shutdown

Basic Communication Services

Basic communication services will experience the negative impact of the 2G network shutdown firsthand. This acted as voice call outage, messaging, and data services. Hence, a big blow was inflicted upon people who accessed 2G network services, especially those found in developing countries. For some people, accessing 2G networks is their only option because of its affordability and availability; after the shutdown, they will go for more expensive options.

IoT and M2M Devices

IoT and M2M technology are two of the most affected areas of the 2G network shutdown in the UK. These devices rely on low-power and low-cost connectivity, making them incompatible with the new 4G technology available. This incompatibility means that these devices lose their connectivity, thus making them useless. The discontinuation of services also has a significant impact on companies that provide IoT services, as they have to re-engineer their systems, which comes with massive investments, in addition to a significant loss of revenue.

Emergency Services

Security services and health care systems will also have a harder life after 2G. Upon the shutdown, these services will lose their only available communication lines. The impact of 2G network shutdown will reflect on their response timeline, which is a crucial aspect of emergency services. The slightest delay in communication can lead to severe consequences. The switch off of 2G networks, therefore, has a ripple effect on the safety and well-being of the communities affected.

Rural Communities

Rural communities rely on basic communication services, such as voice calls and messaging, to a great extent. This reliance on 2G phone networks is pervasive in areas where other communication services are either costly or unavailable. Expectedly, the 2G network closure will affect the livelihood of people in these rural communities. With no means of communication, people in rural areas might lose the opportunity to access basic emergency and healthcare services.

Taking a Look at Your Ongoing 2G Signal Booster 

Assess Your Connectivity Needs

The first step to improving your network connectivity is to assess your needs. How many people will be using the network? What types of devices will they be using? What activities will they be performing? Only after that can you move to the next steps.

Identify Compatible Networks

Once you have gauged your connectivity needs, the next step is to find compatible networks. In most cases, you may be presented with a choice of multiple network carriers such as EE, O2, Vodafone, or Three. Each network has its own coverage and signal strength and data rates that need to be checked against each other to determine the best match for your business. You also need to check if your 2G signal booster is compatible with the respective networks you have chosen. Some boosters only work on certain network frequencies and technologies.

Upgrade to 4G/5G-Compatible Devices

As network carriers are replacing their 2G and 3G services with 4G and 5G, simply upgrading your devices won't cut it anymore. Older phones, tablets, and laptops might not have the latest network technologies, so you will be stuck with old phones that don't support these newest network technologies. You really need to purchase newer generations of phones that take advantage of faster and more reliable networks. You also must make sure your 2G signal booster can handle the newer technologies. Some boosters were only conceived for 2G and 3G; they may not work with 4G or 5G gadgets. 

Implement Network Transition Plans

If you're switching to a new network carrier, or upgrading your signal booster to a new one, make sure you have a transition from 2G set. This should outline what steps you need to follow so that no disaster strikes during the switch-over process. You could include scheduling downtime or maintenance windows and transferring data and settings from your old devices to the new ones. The last step before going live is testing your new network connections.

Test and Optimize New Network Connections

Once you implement your new network infrastructure, you should test and optimise it to ensure the infrastructure is performing as expected. You can use various diagnostic tools such as speed tests, signal meters, and network analysers to measure how well your connections are working or what they’re lacking in terms of quality and reliability. You can also change your settings on your networks so that these optimisations are based on the needs of your business. You may need to do some of these tests and optimisations periodically so that your net seems to be adapting to changing patterns of traffic demand.

Provide Training and Support

Lastly, you have to train and support your employees so that they can really take advantage of your new network infrastructure. Everybody is not technology-savvy, nor are they techs who can troubleshoot connectivity issues alone. You need to put in the training programs, user manuals, and support hotlines so that your employees become proficient at using the new devices and tools. You also have to monitor their feedback and complaints, as well as address them promptly and professionally.

Monitor and Adapt to Changing Technologies

Technology is improvising constantly, and you need to track the latest trends and innovations to remain on par with the competition. Keep an eye on the market for new network technologies, devices, and services that can enrich your business capabilities. You need to change your infrastructural provisions in order to accommodate the diverse changing needs and expectations of your customers or employees. You also require that your 2G signal booster still finds relevance and effectiveness even against changing technology. Although you may have to upgrade or replace it periodically so as not to break down after a while on maintaining your network performance and reliability.

Contact UCtel to Avoid Problems with 2G Network Shutdown

If you are still relying on a 2G signal booster, then it is important to act fast if you want the 2G network closure in the UK not to compound matters. Contact UCtel today for more details on our advanced signal boosters and network solutions. Our professionals will assess your connectivity requirements to select the most cost-effective option for boosting your network.

Final Thoughts

2G network closure is most likely to happen after 3G switch-off.  Even though there is no specific date, the MNOs are expected to stop offering 2G and 3G services beyond 2033. Get ready to adapt your business landscape to the change to always stay in touch wherever you go. We hope this post was helpful, and that you found some answers to your questions regarding the 2G connection shutdown. Book an appointment with UCtel right away for more information on how we can help you stay connected in the rapidly changing business environment.


Find answer below or contact us to ask more about UCtel

Is 2G still available?

Many people ask “Does 2G still work in the UK? Yes. But, the process of the 2G switch off is probably going to occur in the latter half of this decade. We recommend that you take the required steps that we describe in the article to get ready before the shutdown occurs. What this means for businesses and consumers is that they will have to use better alternatives to 2G like 4G, or even 5G from now on.

What’s the speed of 2G Internet?

The 2G connection speed is assumed to be 14.4 kilobits per second, which is very slow in comparison with 3G and all modern networks. This speed makes basic tasks like web browsing, email, as well as text messaging possible. However, it takes much more time when downloading larger files like images, and videos, so many opt for migration to faster networks.

Why are people phasing out 2G?

The 2G network phase out is primarily because it forms an outdated technology incapable of keeping pace with the modern-day advancements in the world. Also, providers are switching to freeing up spectrum space to allocate on more modern 4G, and 5G networks.

Will switching off 2G affect coverage?

Despite the fact that the upcoming 3G, and therefore 2G, switch-off won’t happen tomorrow, providers continue to upgrade network coverage in the UK. Thus, customers switching to advanced networks would not realise a loss of coverage, as they continue to get the same coverage and strength of the signal in the same areas as before the switch.

Contact the team to discover how UCtel can improve your digital connectivity and communications.

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