2G/3G shutdown: operators must modernize mobile networks

All operators are faced with the question of whether or not to renew network investments in order to maintain 2G and 3G equipment. Orange, like most of its peers, is choosing to refocus on longer-term technologies, which are more efficient, even more secure and ready to support growing usage.

All over the world, foreign operators have already made the choice – or are preparing to do so – to discontinue 2G and 3G mobile networks: this reflects a global movement by a large part of the telecoms industry towards modernizing mobile networks and rationalizing technologies.

In France, Orange was the 1st operator to announce the end of 2G by the end of 2025, and 3G by the end of 2028 in mainland France. Then SFR and Bouygues Telecom respectively announced the closure of their 2G networks in 2026, and their 3G networks in 2028 for SFR and 2029 for Bouygues Telecom.

At Orange in France, these shutdowns will take place as follows:

  • From the end of 2025, Orange will gradually phase out its 2G technology, before shutting down its entire network in the following months.
  • As for 3G, it will come to an end at the end of 2028.

Orange is constantly adapting its mobile network and investing in new, more efficient technologies. With this in mind, the frequencies freed up in 2G/3G will enable Orange to improve connectivity in 4G and 5G.

With a timetable spread out over time, Orange is choosing to gradually bring all its customers onto a more high-performance, sustainable and energy-efficient mobile network.

On the wholesale market, virtual operators (MVNO Light and Full) using Orange’s national network are responsible for informing their consumer, professional and business customers about changes to the networks of their host MNOs, within the notice periods stipulated in their contracts.

As soon as Orange announced its 2G/3G switch-off dates in 2022, Orange Wholesale France already invited its MVNO customers to support their consumer, professional and business customers in this technological transition, so that they could equip themselves with VoLTE smartphones, giving them better voice quality for their calls and shorter call set-up times.

For several years now, our MVNOs’ IoT customers have been encouraged to replace their 2G or 2G/3G modules with 4G-compatible modules, with different options depending on the use case, in order to benefit from LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) solutions offered by Orange and the world’s leading MNOs, such as LTE-M, a veritable « Swiss army knife » of IoT connectivity thanks to its unrivalled breadth of use.

Depending on the compatibility of their equipment, all customers concerned will have to make the changes before the deadlines announced by Orange.

This means that, eventually, only 4G and 5G will remain on the Orange France mobile network, high-performance connectivity that meets both the current and future needs of our customers.