Bouygues Telecom lays out 2G and 3G sunsetting plans


The French operator said it will shut down its 2G networks in 2026, followed by its 3G network in 2029

This week, Bouygues Telecom’s B2B Market Director, Jean-Christophe Ravaux, has been quoted by French news media L’Usine Digitale suggesting that the company still has a few years to go before shutting down its 2G and 3G networks.

According to the article, Ravaux says that the French mobile operator is aiming to shut down its 2G network in 2026 and its 3G network by 2029.

“The closure of these networks is a fundamental trend because these technologies are coming to an end,” he said. “That’s why it makes sense to reallocate these frequencies to 4G and 5G for better quality of service. This is the meaning of the story. We have therefore decided, after studying the interest for our customers, to switch off our 2G network at the end of 2026 and our 3G network at the end of 2029.”

This schedule is roughly in-line with that the company’s local rivals; Altice France (SFR) said earlier this year that they are also aiming to decommission their 2G network in 2026 and their 3G network by the end of 2028, with Orange saying it would target 2025 for the shutdown of 2G and 2028 for 3G.

It is worth noting here that strategies regarding the shutdown of 2G and 3G networks vary widely from market to market. In the UK, for example, all of the national mobile operators have committed to shutting down their 3G networks by the end of 2024, though 2G networks may, in some cases, remain operational until 2033.

This is because 2G networks provide a useful low-power fallback, is well suited for machine-to-machine communications (such as for smart meters), and in some cases is the only network available in some of the country’s most rural regions.

France’s neighbour Germany has been even faster to sunset these older networks, with all of the country’s mobile operators having shut down their 3G services already, and most targeting 2G decommissioning by the end of 2025.

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