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National 2G/3G handset replacement scheme ends; 120,000 devices subsidised

20 Apr 2023

Hungary’s telecoms regulator, the National Media & Infocommunications Authority (Nemzeti Media- es Hirkozlesi Hatosag, NMHH), reported that nearly 120,000 people received subsidies to purchase a new 4G/5G mobile handset to replace their 3G or 2G device in the national scheme which ended on 31 March 2023, having been launched on 14 February 2022 for 3G phone replacements, with 2G-only devices added to the exchange programme from 9 May 2022 and the individual subsidy limit doubled to HUF40,000 (USD116.5) on 18 July 2022.

The NMHH declared that the programme succeeded in supporting the total disconnection of the 3G networks of Magyar Telekom and Vodafone Hungary, and the partial shutdown of Yettel Hungary’s 3G network, which the watchdog said took place ‘smoothly and without consumer complaints’. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Magyar Telekom closed its entire 3G network on 30 June 2022, while Vodafone Hungary’s 3G shutdown started in phases from May 2022 leading to its full closure by early 2023; Yettel also began a phased 3G shutdown around the same time as Vodafone, but only scheduling 900MHz 3G services to close that year, leaving its UMTS-2100 services remaining in operation – earmarked for final discontinuation sometime in 2023.

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