Are 2G and 3G services permanently shut down? Question for Jio and Vodafone Idea

India’s leading network provider Reliance Jio is currently busy rolling out 5G services across India. The company will probably finish this work in the first half of this year. A report titled ‘Digital Transformation through 5G Ecosystem’ (Digital Transformation through 5G Ecosystem) was released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in Halfil. Mukesh Ambani’s company, in response to this report, suggested shutting down 2G and 3G services forever to really put India on the path to ‘digitisation’. Vodafone Idea (Vi) is also supporting the move to upgrade customers to 4G and 5G networks.

Notably, in September 2023, TRAI released a report on ‘Digital Transformation through 5G Ecosystem’ highlighting the benefits of 5G networks. Jio, in response to these reports, suggested shutting down 2G and 3G network services in the country. The JIO officials said that the suggestion is mainly to reduce the unnecessary network costs burdened by the telecom operators and to migrate the countrymen to the latest 4G / 5G network.

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Interestingly, Reliance Jio does not offer 2G services in the country. The company has been providing 4G network since 2016 and now 5G services. But since Jio is currently at the top of the telecom industry, the company’s suggestion may be taken seriously by TRAI.

Incidentally, if 2G and 3G services are stopped, the countrymen will have to face several difficulties. Especially the millions of residents in rural areas who still use feature phones will face considerable problems. However, this effect seems to be short-lived. However, this move proposed by Jio can also have a long-term positive impact on the progress of the country. For example, if 2G / 3G services are discontinued, citizens will at least upgrade to 4G network. Due to which, better internet speed, voice quality etc. can be accessed as compared to 3G. At the same time, this move will help in increasing digitization with excellent internet connectivity in various remote areas of India.

How will telecom operators benefit from shutdown of 2G / 3G services?

Telecom companies’ ‘Average Revenue Per User’ (ARPU) will increase if citizens upgrade from 2G / 3G to 4G networks. Also, data usage rates will rise and demand for recharge plans with higher data limits will increase. Each of these factors will affect the overall revenue of the companies.

Meanwhile, while both Jio and Vodafone Idea are keen to discontinue 2G and 3G services in India, Airtel is yet to comment on the matter. Now let’s see how TRAI responds to Jio’s proposed suggestions.

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