M1, Singtel and Starhub have jointly announced they will be retiring all 3G services including voice, messaging and data, effective 31st July 2024.
With the retirement of 3G networks, mobile operators should be able to repurpose some of the freed-up spectrum to improve 5G services, which offer faster speeds, higher data throughput, as well as enhanced security and reliability.
The only exceptions will include early release 4G handsets that still rely on 3G networks to make voice calls, for which a full list can be accessed via the individual mobile provider.
Over recent years, mobile operators in Singapore have been undergoing significant transformation and outreach programmes to encourage 3G customers to migrate to newer 4G and 5G mobile networks, including through auctioning off 3G airwaves for incoming 5G use as recently as 2021. In 2019, the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) also rolled out an 8-week long research initiative, which included gathering the public’s feedback on connection services, to contribute to long-term policy and regulatory framework amendments to network management.
Whilst 4G and 5G are already gaining traction as preferred connections, several businesses and enterprise users still rely heavily on incumbent 3G services, as well as users on older mobile devices or SIM cards that cannot connect to newer networks.
In the joint mobile network operator (MNO) release shared with Campaign, all three providers indicated that proactive measures will be taken in coming months to communicate the transition to 3G users and extend assistance to those who need help migrating.
For further information, customers are encouraged to visit their individual operator’s websites.