Japan’s second largest mobile operator by subscriptions, KDDI (au), has announced that it will stop offering its 3G service ‘CDMA 1X WIN’ over its network on 31 March 2022. In a statement dated 29 November, the company noted that with the spread of 5G and 4G LTE capable of ultra-high speed data communication and ‘au VoLTE’ capable of high-quality voice calls, the number of users of the older 3G service is on the wane. KDDI confirmed that current 3G users will be able to upgrade to 4G- or 5G network-compatible phones free of charge, noting that six smartphone models are available. Meanwhile, it said that shutting down the old service will free up frequencies creating ‘an environment where customers can comfortably use au and UQ mobile phone services’.
KDDI’s main rivals SoftBank Corp and NTT DOCOMO have already outlined their intentions to switch off 3G services in January 2024 and March 2026, respectively.