Network rationalisation: making way for 4G and 5G

With the smartphone revolution and the rapid growth in wireless data services, operators worldwide are exploring opportunities to reduce costs or to re-use 2G/3G spectrum for the more cost-efficient 4G and 5G technologies, by shutting down networks using the older legacy technologies. The commercial and regulatory push for enhanced 5G connectivity means operators worldwide are increasingly motivated to sunset legacy networks.

On 9 February, the GSMA convened key EU policy and industry decision-makers for its #GSMAConnected series event “Network rationalisation: making way for 4G and 5G” to discuss what are the most suitable market, regulatory and commercial conditions for switching off 2G and 3G networks.

Joe Lynch, Co-Chair of BEREC Wireless Network Evolution Working Group, and International Unit Analyst at ComReg, Ireland, and Tassos Lyratzis, Chair of Mobile Technology Evolution of the Radio Spectrum Policy Group, EETT, Greece, presented opening remarks. Emanuel Kolta, Lead Analyst at GSMA Intelligence, presented global trends. Michaela Angonius, Head of Legal Affairs CPS & Head of Group Regulatory Affairs at Telia Company, and Pascal Rogard, Head of Brussels Office at Orange, spoke about opportunities and challenges from the MNO’s perspective.

Key highlights
  • New 5G era: Regulators, telecoms companies, and end-users agree that 5G is more than a new generation of technologies; it represents a new era in connectivity. 5G can provide high speeds, low latency and massive capacity.
  • Europe’s plans:  To meet EU connectivity goals, we need the right conditions for private infrastructure investment and network modernisation. With the arrival of 5G, there is commercial pressure to retire old networks. In Europe, many mobile network operators have completed or plan to switch off their legacy 2G or 3G networks.
  • IoT issue: 2G and 3G technologies have already gone through extensive updates to increase their lifespans and get every last bit of use from their infrastructure. While 2G has been the prevalent technology in many markets in terms of coverage – time has come to move on. There are technical options for migrating the various IoT applications relying on old networks (better, new technologies) so the decision for 2G and 3G technologies remains an economic one.
  • eCall: eCall is a system used in vehicles across the EU which automatically makes a free 112 emergency call if a vehicle is involved in a serious road accident. The problem? EU regulation is not technology neutral and prescribes a system based on Circuit Switched (2G). These networks will be switched off in the coming years. EU regulation must be neutral and, cater for the future: new networks are relying on different technologies (packet-switched for 4G/5G vs Circuit Switched for 2G/3G).
Watch the highlight video

#GSMAConnected Series: Small scale Big impact

This event is part of #GSMAConnected Series of Events (formerly Mobile Meetings Series). These are small-scale, invitation-only meetings that provide a setting to explore, from broader stakeholder’s perspective, EU policy issues that are central to the development of the mobile industry.

For more information please contact

Rita De Castro

Director of Policy, GSMA

Rita de Castro has 15 years’ experience in European public and regulatory affairs, with a strong focus on the digital and telecom sectors, and a mix of international private sector and public sector experience.

Rita worked in the European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT). She was EU Affairs Manager for Hutchison Europe (Three Group). Having also worked for a consultancy specialising in European public and regulatory affairs advising FTSE 100 clients, Rita has extensive experience in the sector.

Rita holds a Master in European Political & Administrative Studies from the College of Europe. She graduated from Lisbon Nova University. A Portuguese native, she is also fluent in English, French and Spanish.

[email protected]