Farewell to 3G: what are the implications?


Orange is phasing out its 3G network in Belgium from next year. The capacity this frees up will allow us to better exploit the potential of 4G and 5G. The result? A faster network, better-quality phone calls and a more reliable connection.

Is 3G still widely used?

There have been dozens of innovations in mobile telephony. Today, it’s mainly 5G applications that are creating new opportunities. When we look at the most important evolutions of the last few years, it quickly becomes clear that businesses really appreciate these continuous improvements. Fewer and fewer customers are still using 3G devices, and the volume of voice calls and data traffic on our 3G network is only a fraction of what it once was.

This underuse of the 3G network is a global trend and explains why mobile operators in Belgium, the rest of Europe and Asia are systematically phasing out their 3G networks. The US already switched off its 3G network completely last summer.


What will Orange do?

Orange is also slowly abandoning 3G. We will phase out our 3G network in stages, region by region, from January 2024. The complete switch-off is planned some time in 2025. Most likely, you and your employees won’t notice the phase-out, as most devices are already 4G and 5G compatible. If you still have an older device, it will automatically switch to the 2G network, which will remain in use until at least 2028. This means you and your employees can still be reached at all times even with an older 3G device.

Abandoning 3G frees up a lot of network capacity. This will be used to develop more advanced 4G and 5G technologies. Besides a faster connection, higher-quality phone calls and more reliable connectivity, these networks offer a lot of additional opportunities to your business.


When will 3G disappear?

The Belgian 3G network phase-out will start in January 2024. It will be discontinued in phases: 3G will be switched off region by region. 3G will stop being available in Belgium some time in 2025.


What about data usage and IoT?

If you use your mobile network a lot for work, you may well want to switch to a 4G or 5G device. 2G surfing speeds are a lot slower, which doesn’t always benefit productivity. Most modern devices are already using at least 4G, but it won't hurt to double-check your business appliances. This will make sure you don’t have any surprises.

Even if you want to keep using IoT applications that are still connected to the 3G network, we recommend migrating to a faster 4G or 5G variant, particularly if those applications need to process a lot of data. We will be happy to work with you to assess what technology is best for you and how best to approach it. This is also the perfect time to take a closer look at what new opportunities have been developed for your business.


For more information on the 3G switch-off, visit our website. If you have any further questions, your account manager will be happy to answer them.

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