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Mobile Network Operators Initiate Plan to Retire
3G Services

More spectrum can be released for investment in 5G

SINGAPORE – 26 JUL 2023

All three Mobile Network Operators (“MNOs”) providing 3G services in Singapore – Singtel, StarHub and M1 – plan to retire their 3G services by 31 July 2024. This is in view of advancements in the mobile communication space where 3G has been largely replaced by 4G and 5G.

3G entered the Singapore market almost 20 years ago. Thereafter, the next wave of 4G developments took place in the mid-2010s. Since the introduction of 5G in 2022, 5G subscriptions have gained prevalence, making up 15% of total mobile subscribers and this continues to grow. Overall, close to 99% of Singapore’s mobile subscribers are currently on 4G/5G. As of April 2023, the 3G subscriber base makes up approximately 1% of the total mobile subscriptions and it is on the decline.

Internationally, operators such as those in Australia and the UK are similarly expected to retire 3G services by 2024, while some countries like the USA and Malaysia have retired 3G services.

When the 3G networks retire, more spectrum can be released for investment in 5G to provide a better experience for users and support enterprises undergoing digital transformation.

Successful migration of 3G subscribers by MNOs is a priority

Before retiring their 3G services, MNOs must ensure that their remaining 3G subscribers, both individual and enterprise users, transit smoothly onto the 4G/5G networks. To facilitate the transition, the MNOs will be offering the following support:

  • Individual users – options will be given to convert from 3G to 4G plans on terms that are no worse-off. MNOs will also provide a range of mobile phone options at different price points; and
  • Enterprise users – support will be given for enterprises to seamlessly migrate to 4G or other alternative services, minimising disruption to their existing services.

Retailers will also no longer be able to sell 3G mobile phones and/or 4G models requiring 3G for voice calls. This will take effect from 1 February 2024 (except for export purposes).

This one-year transition period is given to allow MNOs to adequately engage and migrate their remaining 3G subscribers before retiring their 3G services. 3G subscribers should reach out to their respective MNOs for more information and assistance.

LAST UPDATED: 07 FEB 2024

Issued by the Infocomm Media Development Authority

About Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) leads Singapore’s digital transformation with infocomm media. To do this, IMDA will develop a dynamic digital economy and a cohesive digital society, driven by an exceptional infocomm media (ICM) ecosystem – by developing talent, strengthening business capabilities, and enhancing Singapore's ICM infrastructure. IMDA also regulates the telecommunications and media sectors to safeguard consumer interests while fostering a pro-business environment, and enhances Singapore’s data protection regime through the Personal Data Protection Commission.

For more news and information, visit www.imda.gov.sg or follow IMDA on LinkedIn (@IMDA), Facebook (@IMDAsg) and Instagram (@IMDAsg).

For media clarifications, please contact:

Valerie Chan
Assistant Manager
(Communications and Marketing)
IMDA
DID: (65) 6982 1491
Email: Valerie_CHAN@imda.gov.sg

Tracy Won
Deputy Director
(Communications and Marketing)
IMDA
DID: (65) 6982 1924
Email: Tracy_WON@imda.gov.sg

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