Telefonica Deutschland has announced that it will begin the large-scale shutdown of its 3G network from 1 July, with the process set to be completed by the end of this year. Starting next month, the firm will begin the full rededication of the first 1,500 3G sites in states including Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, and will reallocate a further 9,500 sites by the end of September 2021. During this time, network tasks will be carried out in major cities such as Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Essen and Dusseldorf, as well as in large parts of Bavaria, Schleswig-Holstein, Saxony, Thuringia and Saarland. As a result, Telefonica will be able to provide full 4G coverage at two-thirds of all previous 3G sites by late summer. The last 4,500 3G sites will follow by early December and will include major cities such as Berlin, Hamburg and Leipzig, as well as all other regions in Germany.
For the operation of its 3G network, Telefonica previously used 20MHz in the 2100MHz frequency band, but has gradually reallocated spectrum for 4G services so that the majority of mobile sites are now utilising 15MHz for LTE and just 5MHz of 2100MHz bandwidth for 3G. The company will begin converting the remaining 5MHz so that customers have the full bandwidth available for 4G by year-end.
‘More than 20 years ago, we paved the way for mobile data usage in our country with 3G. In the meantime, this technology is getting on in years, so we are replacing it by the end of the year,’ said Markus Haas, CEO of Telefonica Deutschland, adding: ‘The future of digital networking for business and consumers will then belong solely to 4G and, above all, 5G. These mobile standards are significantly more powerful, more sustainable and enable new digital solutions.’