Hong Kong’s SmarTone has announced that it will close its GSM network on 14 October 2022, saying the move was ‘in response to the massive growth of mobile data usage in recent years and the decreasing market demand for 2G services’. According to the operator, as of April 2022 the number of customers using 2G handsets or devices accounted for less than 0.1% of its total mobile subscriptions. Confirming its plans, meanwhile, the operator noted that the 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum resources currently deployed for its 2G infrastructure will be reallocated for use in its 4G and 5G networks.
To facilitate a smooth migration from 2G to more advanced mobile networks, SmarTone said it has been working with customers to upgrade 2G handsets or devices to those that support a higher generation mobile network since early 2021. Further, the operator said it was also working with a few enterprise customers which are using 2G devices to ensure their smooth transition to 4G/5G services. With SmarTone confirming it will continue to assist affected customers in their upgrade of handsets or devices for enjoying 4G/5G services, it said it would also endeavour to ‘offer proper arrangements to those who do not intend on upgrading from 2G’.
Commenting, Norman Tam, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of SmarTone, said: ‘The value of ‘Building Network with Heart’ has always been at the core of SmarTone’s development, and we will continue to adapt to the ever-changing needs of our customers to deliver the best possible user experience in 5G and beyond.’