Singapore will officially be a 2G-free zone as of the end of this week when M1, Singtel and StarHub start shutting down their 2G networks.
A joint statement issued by all three cellcos and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said that the shutdown will begin April 1 and be completed by 18 April.
All remaining 2G mobile users in the city were advised to switch to 3G or 4G handsets as soon as possible to continue using their mobile plans:
2G users will be able to retain their numbers and subscription plan on the 3G/4G networks at no additional cost and with no re-contract. IMDA also encourages friends and family of 2G mobile users – in particular the elderly – to assist them in the transition to a 3G/4G handset. Seniors who wish to learn how to use smartphones can sign up for courses at selected Silver Infocomm Junctions (SIJ). SIJs are senior-friendly IT learning hubs conveniently located island-wide.
IMDA and the operators are staging media campaigns and roadshows to get the word out, and have partnered with community groups to reach out to seniors.
Meanwhile, IMDA says it has partnered with all three cellcos to ensure that a range of handset models are available to meet various customer needs, ranging from basic models costing below $S50 to feature-rich smartphones. Handsets with simple features similar to 2G phones that current users are familiar with are also available.
The shutdown was first announced in 2015 (some 21 years after the first GSM network was launched in the city-state). The freed-up spectrum has already been allocated to cellcos for 3G, 4G and more advanced mobile services.