More than 3G. Let’s start seriously thinking about 5G and planning for 6G

The closures of old generation networks – 2G or 3G – announced by telecoms, evoke a lot of emotions. Many users fear that such an operation will make it difficult for them to access services and require investment in new equipment, that is, it will deteriorate. We think otherwise – it’s time to say goodbye to 3G and seriously prepare for the latest standards, including 6G.

Operators in the United States and Europe are preparing for network failures in old standards – 2G and 3G. Some of them are already carrying out such activities, others have already set deadlines and are preparing for the operation.

Among these, she found herself also the Orange Group. The operator recently presented an unavailability plan that covers all countries where the Orange network operates. Times depended on regional factors, mainly coverage and network usage in a given technology.

For instance in Francewhere 3G plays a bigger role Orange will withdraw its 2G network in 2025.while 3G will be phased out by the end of 2028.

The situation is different in other regional agencies: in Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg, Romania or Slovakia, where 3G will be disabled firstthen only 2G. The whole operation will end by 2030 at the latest.

And Poland? Our Orange also has exemption plans. 3G will come first. The operator expects that for some areas of Poland it will be years 2024 – 2025.

Paradoxically the old 2G technology will be used longerbecause it ensures the proper functioning of Machine-to-Machine services. We will say goodbye to this standard by 2030, although Orange Polska has not yet decided when exactly this will happen in our country.

girl with phone

Why disable 3G?

“They want to turn off 3G, but when you go out of town the LTE disappears and the internet barely drips. How is it supposed to work? Will there be no coverage? There will be nothing?” – such questions from users of mobile networks are not uncommon. These fears are understandable but totally unfounded. Disabling 3G will make things even better.

So why are operators, including Orange Polska, deactivating 2G and 3G? There are several reasons for this. The first is obvious, even banal: older technologies are slower. As the monthly Speedtest.pl ranking shows, 3G Mobile Internet allows you to get the average of Polish operators 5 Mb/s download speedsand shipping approx. 3 MB/s. In turn, the ping delay value is 50ms or more. We are talking about factual and not theoretical values. There’s nothing more to get out of it and it’s not today’s speeds.

There is no future for 3G, but the networks of this standard involve something very precious: radio frequencies. Bands used by older technologies will be used to improve the bandwidth and coverage of 4G and 5G networks. Not only in big cities, but also in rural areas, so when someone “leaves the city”, they will not be exposed to the loss of the Internet. On the contrary – it is thanks to this can enjoy faster data transfer. Where it “caught” 3G, it will now have LTE.

LTE mast rigger

The 3G shutdown was already here

Such network changes are nothing new. Already in previous years, Orange Polska reallocated its 2100 MHz frequencies. In 2020 and 2021, the operator phased out 3G/UMTS technology operating in this area, instead launching LTE 2100 MHz communication in the 15 MHz band, which in total extended the entire 4G band to 50 MHz. Completed actions on 9,000 base stations throughout Poland, ensured an increase in the capacity of the existing LTE network – and therefore the possibility of simultaneous connection by many users – as well as its speed. In both cases, the profit was several percent. Debit at peak times, it increased by 9 Mb/swhich is more than you can get from 3G in practice today.

Today, 5G NSA networks, using DSS bandsharing technology, are launched in parallel on 2100 MHz frequencies. Of course, there is nothing to hide – there is still a lot to do here, but in many cases even that the seed of the new standard gives us several tens of Mb/s more than LTE.

Upgrading from 3G to 4G may also cover other bands occupied by older standards. Orange has plans switch from 3G to LTE in the frequency range 900MHz. This will ensure that the 4G signal, for example, will be more readily available inside buildings and in large rural areas. And it’s that refarming step will eventually lead to the shutdown of 3G.

At this point, it is also worth looking at the statistics. Above 96% of internet data in the Orange Polska mobile network, it circulates using 4G/LTE standard. In turn, on 3G falls only 3%. The situation is slightly different in the case of voice calls – it is still used in 3G more than 30% of calls. This represents a particular challenge for the operator.

The implementation of new standards instead of 2G and 3G has other aspects. The next stage of the 5G network is continuously optimized to ensure greater energy efficiency. This is of particular importance these days. Networks in the new standards are also larger security and resistance to cyberattacks. This is also a topical issue today.

people with phones

LTE instead of 3G means better call quality

While the usefulness of 3G in Internet connections is negligible, the network of this standard, like 2G, is still used for voice calls. Will abandoning these technologies make our phones will go silent?

Of course not – that’s where he comes in a new calling standard with HD audio, i.e. VoLTE. Thanks to this solution, the speed of initiation of voice calls increases, as well as their quality – you can forget about noise or reverberation. Also, unlike older standards, there is an option when talking via VoLTE use of high-speed mobile internet and have a conversation at the same time.

Another problem is the compatibility of VoLTE at Orange with the smartphones available on the market. Not all are fully compatible, however. their number continues to grow and will be further expanded.

People who by the end of 2023 will not be equipped with a telephone ensuring VoLTE operation at Orange, there remains an emergency counter – the possibility of using the 2G network. However, it will be associated with poorer connection quality.

For customers who still have doubts about the practicalities of a goodbye to 3G, Orange has prepared an information page, available at https://www.orange.pl/wyawodaj-siec. You will learn how to prepare for change.

Photo source: Shutterstock, Orange Polska, Schneider Electric, Telepolis.pl

Text source: Own

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