Will I have to change my smartphone after turning off 3G in Moscow and the Moscow region?

Russian telecom operators are gradually switching from 3G to LTE. «VympelCom» (provides services under the Beeline brand) will be the first of the major operators to practically abandon the third generation of communications in Moscow and the Moscow region. It is reported by “Kommersant” with reference to sources in the company.

 What is known about the transition of “Beeline” from 3G to LTE?

The press service of the company noted that “Beeline” was the first in Russia to transfer 3G networks in the 2.1 GHz band to LTE (4G) technology in Moscow. The operator plans to complete this process by September 2022 in the Moscow region. Until the end of 2023, VimpelCom will intends to abandon 3G in more than 25 regions of the country, Kommersant notes.

 What does this mean for users?

VympelCom will keep the lowest and shortest band for 3G in the Moscow region – in the 900 MHz band. According to the publication's experts, it can only provide voice communication.

 Therefore, owners of smartphones that support only 3G will have to change devices in order to maintain Internet access. Access to the mobile Internet will be provided by smartphones with LTE support. At the same time, the SIM card must also be connected to 4G.

 Meanwhile, according to experts, only about 3% of smartphones that support only 3G remain in the capital region. In other subjects of such gadgets, no more than 5%. At the same time, no more than 1% of mobile subscribers constantly use smartphones without LTE support.

 And if a person uses ordinary phones only for calls?

If a person uses a conventional, push-button, mobile phone only for calls, there is no need to change the device. The 2G frequencies they support continue to work.

 Why does the operator switch from 3G to LTE?

In VimpelCom, explain that users are phasing out the 3G standard. Third generation traffic from this operator is steadily falling: from 16% in 2019 to 4% in 2022 in Moscow and the Moscow region. At the same time, the consumption of LTE and the number of devices supporting this communication standard is growing.

 The company's press service also noted that LTE base stations have the ability to launch 5G when the necessary frequencies are allocated. Most of the operator's investments are allocated for the construction of such stations.

 "VympelCom" consciously transfers the 3G frequency resource to LTE in order to continue to provide high quality communications. The company believes that this will increase the capacity of the data transmission network by 50%.

 At the same time, the 3G standard will continue to provide communication where it is needed, but to a lesser extent.

 Are other operators switching from 3G to LTE?

In 2021, MTS transferred 3G networks in the 2.1 GHz band to 4G and plans to do this in Moscow “by as the network is being upgraded. There are also transfer plans in other regions of the country.

 Tele2 donated the 2.1 GHz band in Moscow for LTE in 2021. The company said that they plan to “continue this work to maintain the required network capacity in accordance with the rate of traffic growth.”

  noted that “the current resources on the network in Moscow and the region are sufficient to provide high quality services” and the operator is transitioning from 3G to 4G “as needed”.

 Analysts believe that all operators will soon begin to accelerate the transition from 3G to modern communication standards. 

Sources: https://www.kommersant.ru/, https://tass.ru/

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