Telefonica bids farewell to Germany's 3G network

Telefonica Deutschland has detailed plans for a large-scale 3G network shutdown from next month, making it the last operator in Germany to discontinue old technology in favor of 4G and 5G.

In November 2020, the company announced that it would shut down the network by the end of 2021, one year earlier than originally scheduled. It has 16,000 3G sites being phased out.

While Telefonica set the end of December as the deadline for 3G, it decided that July 1 would mark the beginning of a “mass shutdown of the aging network,” more than 20 years after its creation.

“This technology is now years away from us, so we will be replacing it by the end of the year,” said CEO Markus Haas. “The future of corporate and consumer digital networks will be the exclusive property of 4G and especially 5G.”

Telefonica offers discontinued technology users a number of device upgrade offers and also offers a free SIM change to the 4G version.

The schedule will likely be the last operator in Germany to make the switch.

Rival Deutsche Telekom is on track to shut down its 3G network by the end of this month, and Vodafone Germany is targeting the end of December as well.

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