Vodafone NZ to switch off 3G network by end of 2024
Vodafone New Zealand intends to have rolled out 4G or 5G to everywhere currently served by 3G by the end of August 2024, at which point it will begin to shut down its legacy 3G network.
Vodafone says the two-year notice period is intended to allow customers enough time to transition to using faster, more reliable services before the legacy 3G network is turned off.
Turning off this network will provide enhanced 4G and 5G experiences for Vodafone's customers by allowing the telco provider to repurpose its 3G spectrum.
Vodafone notes that an increasing number of its customers are already taking advantage of the company's newer network technologies, with 3G data use accounting for less than 5% of total network data traffic, a figure that is rapidly declining year over year.
“Whilst our 3G network has served us well since 2005, 4G and 5G are the future, helping Kiwis work, play and connect across New Zealand,” Vodafone wholesale - infrastructure director Tony Baird says.
“We are hyper-focused on continuing to build out New Zealand's best mobile network, and to do that, it's important we retire our legacy network infrastructure.
“We will only do this once 4G or 5G is available to our customers, and they should think of this as a switchover, rather than a switch off as the majority of customers have 4G and 5G capable devices.
“We have seen telcos across the world retire their 3G networks, including Vodafone in the UK and Europe, and we're able to incorporate learnings from them to benefit our customers as we take the lead in this closer to home.
Vodafone is continuing its rollout of 4G and 5G, with more than 400 upgrades and 165 new sites offering broader 4G and 5G throughout New Zealand in 2021.
The rollout has kept pace in 2022, providing 4G or 5G to sites from Kaeo in Northland to Gore and Invercargill in Southland, as well as a range of places in between, such as the 27 sites in Hamilton alone.
Vodafone also has many more sites planned.
“At Vodafone we're helping customers unlock the magic of technology, and to do that, they need fast, reliable connectivity,” Baird adds.
“Customers who have access to our 5G love it, which is better for them, and better for Aotearoa, as it is 10 times more energy efficient than 3G.
“While we're excited for the future, it's really important to us to make sure none of our customers are left behind.
“We'll be carefully communicating with them over the next two years, to make sure that they understand the technology change coming, and what, if anything, they need to do to stay connected.
The announcement about the end of its 3G network comes after Vodafone opened its Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) platform for business in July.