Elisa to pull plug on 3G network in 2023

Final countdown starts for third-generation mobile communications in Finland, with capacity to be used for 5G services

Finnish communications supplier Elisa has announced that its 3G network will cease to be available to customers at the end of 2023.

Explaining the move, the operator said it is investing more and more in newer network technologies such as 5G and 4G services, which it said respond better to current and future user needs.

It said customers’ use of 3G networks is already very limited and is projected to decrease further. After 2023, the frequencies used by the 3G network will be freed up for use by the 4G network.

“We are world leaders in the use of mobile data, and data volumes are just continuing to grow,” said Sami Rajamäki, vice-president of network services at Elisa. “It is clear that we need to transfer capacity to modern networks to meet the needs of our customers. The importance of 5G will only increase through this change.”

Elisa stressed that in making the move, it is supporting sustainable development by actively transitioning to newer, more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly network technologies.

In the vast majority of cases, the change will not require a change of phones or other devices. The company cited a number of cases where a change will be required, including old sports cameras and tablets that were more than 10 years old and only work on a 3G network. After 2023, customers who have a phone that supports 3G will automatically be transferred to the 2G network, which will continue as before.

Elisa also assured corporate customers that the discontinuation of the 3G network over the transitional period would not have significant effects on devices using the network, such as payment terminals.

“We want to ensure that customers who only have 3G devices have enough time to prepare for the change,” said Jorma Niemelä, vice-president of corporate customer connectivity services at Elisa. “We anticipate that due to the long transition, after 2023 only a very small proportion of our customers will have devices that only support the 3G network, because the lifespan of many devices will end in any case in a few years’ time, before the change.

“Services and solutions that use newer mobile technologies always provide higher quality and better functionality for the customer, so the transition from 3G to 4G and 5G solutions is positive in all respects.”

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