The end of 2G and 3G in Europe is worrying users of connected objects and M2M SIM cards, but what does it really mean and what are the consequences for users?
This article looks at the reasons behind the discontinuation of 2G and 3G in Europe. It will also discuss the consequences for users and possible solutions for coping with these changes.
Why are 2G and 3G being discontinued in Europe?
The end of 2G and 3G in Europe is mainly due to the modernization of data networks. Telecom operators are abandoning old technologies. They are focusing on 4G and 5G networks because of the growing demand for faster, more reliable connections.
4G is 10 times faster than 3G, and 5G is even faster with less latency. These improvements are necessary to meet the growing needs of users for video streaming, online gaming and other data-intensive applications.
Freeing up frequencies
The end of 2G and 3G in Europe will free up frequencies for 4G and 5G networks. This will also enable us to modernize our networks. This will enable telecoms operators to offer better coverage and quality of service to their customers.
With the arrival of1st generation cellular networkin the 80s, use was restricted to analog telephone calls only. Then came the 2nd generation of cellular networks, almost 10 years later. It has made an impact by enabling text and media messages to be transmitted.
Finally, the 3rd and 4th generations of cellular networks have made it possible to send video-type media and, above all, to surf the Internet from your mobile, which will thus become a smartphone. Since 2020, we have been witnessing the gradual deployment of 5th generation technologies.
In Europe, this change will have consequences for users of connected objects and M2M SIM cards. Here are some of the main consequences to consider:
The need to upgrade connected devices
The end of 2G and 3G is necessary to make way for a new technology, since we’re running out of frequency bands. But this means that devices without 4G and 5G will no longer be able to access the Internet.
In fact, as our data consumption has evolved, 2G and 3G have become too inefficient to meet the needs of professionals and consumers alike.
The aim for operators is to recover their saturated low frequencies for reuse with new generations of data networks, which are better adapted to our current needs.
Manufacturers and integrators of connected objects and M2M SIM cards will need to upgrade devices to work with 4G and 5G networks. This can be costly and time-consuming, especially for companies with a large number of connected devices. Yet this also represents an opportunity to innovate in terms of the capacity, quality and environmental impact of connected objects and M2M. Because as technology evolves, so do users’ choice criteria.
The need to change SIM cards
As for users of connected objects and M2M SIM cards, they will probably have to update their devices and get a new SIM card to connect to 4G and 5G networks.
Or else, the modem will have to be capable of transmitting on this technology, just like the SIM in a phone, you don’t necessarily change it so that it switches to 5G. Otherwise, all they have to do is ask their operator or IoT solution provider for a new card, as proposed by Synox offers its customers, depending on their use case (this option enables them to retain higher quality of service and “multi-operator” functionality).
Loss of coverage for connected devices
The end of 2G and 3G in Europe also means that some out-of-date equipment may lose network coverage. Professionals are advised to turn to their M2M solution provider for alternatives, and to maintain the connectivity of their connected devices to avoid potential network outages.
It is important to point out that by 2023, we will have deployed 50% of the territory.
Not all operators predict the same chronology. Some predict the end of 2G at the end of 2025, others in 2026. For 3G, the shutdown is scheduled for the end of 2028 or the end of 2029. It’s worth noting that 2G is already very little used because it’s relatively old.
The discontinuation of 2G and 3G in Europe may be of concern to users of connected objects and M2M SIM cards. However, solutions do exist to cope with these changes.
Here are some options to consider:
The first solution is to upgrade devices so that they are compatible with 4G and 5G networks. This can be costly, but allows new networks to continue operating without interruption.
Data gateways (IoT)
Some have implemented a temporary solution using data gateways to connect 2G and 3G devices to 4G and 5G networks.
Data gateways convert 2G and 3G signals into 4G and 5G signals. This allows older devices to connect to new data networks.
But we recommend that you upgrade your connected devices or get a new model if you need reliability, rather than putting off the problem until later.
The search for a new operator
If your operator can’t handle the end of 2G and 3G, look for another one. Some operators may offer solutions that are more affordable or better suited to your needs.
The end of 2G and 3G in Europe is certain. However, this does not mean that users of connected objects and M2M SIM cards will lose their connection.
By acting now to improve devices or find other solutions, users can continue to enjoy a fast, reliable connection.
It’s important to stay informed about upcoming changes and to work with your SIM card operator.
One of our Internet of Things experts at Synox, Lucas Périchon, points out that the changeover will be gradual, and that manufacturers, suppliers and integrators of connected devices and M2M SIM cards like Synox are already on hand to support their customers.