Several operators world over have announced intentions or plans to shut down their 2G networks. The timeframe indicated for this possible shutdown is around 2017-18 timeframe. As wireless carriers are likely to go ahead with their plans, there could be a number of implications for the industry. While we have about five years before the proposed shutdown takes place, it is important to take stock of the current role of 2G networks. 2G networks typically operating in the 850/900 MHz bands have been pivotal in providing close to 100% geographical coverage due to the better propagation characteristics they offer compared to the 2,100 MHz at which 3G operates. 2G is also cost effective in comparison to 3G as its propagation characteristics ensure equivalent coverage with fewer base stations. This is especially true in areas where the density of users is lower as the economics of providing ubiquitous coverage are much better in 2G. In addition, 2G networks still carry a bulk of the voice calls in many networks. This...Read More
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