The closure of Telia's 3G network will start on September 11 in the area of Ulvila, Nakkila, Harjavalta and Kokemäki. Frequencies released from the 3G network will be taken into use in newer 4G and 5G networks. A more extensive programme will begin at the beginning of 2024.
Telia has tested shutting down 3G at individual base stations during the first half of the year. The closure will begin in the Satakunta region, where it will be ensured that the use of mobile services continues uninterrupted afteras a larger number of 3G base stations are decommissioned at the same time.
The old 3G network will be shut down because newer networks offer a better customer experience due to higher speed and data capacity. The 3G frequencies can be taken into use by 4G and 5G networks, which also are clearly safer and more energy efficient than the old 2G and 3G networks.
The population coverage of Telia's 4G network is 99.9%, and the new 5G network already reaches almost 90% of Finns.
"3G currently only carries about one per cent of mobile data traffic, and voice traffic has also rapidly switched to 4G voice as customers have upgraded their phones to newer models. Our 2G network will continue to support the oldest phones that only handle traditional mobile calls for some time," says Timo Hietalahti, Telia's Director of Mobile Networks.
After Satakunta, the network will be closed in mid-October in Riihimäki. After a single urban area, the shutdown of 3G will continue in larger areas in 2024.
Closing schedule for the beginning of the year:
Southwest Finland excl. Turku and its surrounding municipalities
Southern parts of Ostrobothnia and South Ostrobothnia
After the first quarters, 3G sunset will continue in the rest of Ostrobothnia, Central Finland, Northern Pirkanmaa and Åland. Finally, the network will be shut down in the Helsinki metropolitan area, Turku and Tampere and their surrounding municipalities.
In Eastern and Northern Finland, Telia's subscriptions operate in a network built and maintained by Suomen Yhteisverkko Oy, which is jointly owned by Telia and DNA. The shared network will start shutting down the 3G network at the beginning of 2024.
Finland is ready for the end of the 3G era, the future of 2G should also be decided
In addition to building the 5G network, Telia has prepared for the closure of the 3G network by renewing the 4G network and building more 4G coverage. The schedule and effects of the network change have been discussed with corporate and public administration customers. The rest of consumers' old 3G subscriptions will be updated during the rest of the year, and device campaigns have long accelerated the adoption of newer phones.
The 2G network, which has been in use for more than 30 years, will still transmit mobile calls and first-generation machine connections from the oldest phones. The authorities will carry out an interim review of 2G spectrum licences this year. In Telia's view, these 900 and 1800 MHz operating licences should be made technology neutral. Also, a deadline should be set for shutting down 2G networks.
For example, Sweden and Norway are closing 2G in 2025. The technology is already outdated, and the upgrades required by networks would be expensive. Uncertainty about the future of 2G will slow down Finland's digitalisation and transition to new technology.