The Sunsetting Of 3G Network
1. What is the 3G Network sunsetting?
3G sunsetting is the gradual retirement of all the 3G network in Malaysia by mobile network operators (MNOs), namely Celcom Axiata Berhad (“Celcom”), Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd (“Digi”), Maxis Berhad (“Maxis”) and U Mobile Sdn Bhd (“U Mobile”) by December 2021. The completion of 3G network sunsetting will then enable the MNOs to provide faster and better 4G experience.
2. What are the benefits of 3G sunsetting for the public?
The ultimate goal of 3G sunset initiative is to repurpose the use of the spectrum for 4G and further to enhance the quality of service to the public for a greater experience in internet browsing, video streaming and online services. In other words, we can notice improvement in many ways including:
● Higher data speeds
● Lower latency
● Improved network reliability and stability
● Enhancing the quality of experience
3. Why is the sunsetting of 3G network necessary?
The current COVID-19 pandemic triggered an urgency for Malaysia to address network connectivity and quality issues, thus cater for future demand. The 3G network sunsetting is an initiative under the Jalinan Digital Negara plan or JENDELA, which comes with shared aspirations of MNOs and MCMC to improve and enhance national digital infrastructure by providing seamless coverage and consistent quality of experience for all. By terminating the 3G network, the 3G spectrum will be refarmed, and repurposed to optimise 4G network for better mobile data experience. The network rationalisation will benefit everyone with improved capacity, data speeds and broadband coverage. This will eventually pave way for the MNOs to develop more innovative services base on 4G LTE.
4. How will the 3G network sunsetting be implemented?
The 3G network sunsetting will be implemented in three (3) phases. Phase 1 involves planning stage, which has completed in the Q3-Q4 2020. Phase 2 is the implementation stage whereby the 3G network will gradually be thinned and ultimately shutdown by end of 2021. At the same time, the MNOs will also improve their 4G network to provide wider coverage and higher data speeds. Phase 3 (Q1-Q2 2022) will be the post 3G Sunset stage and it involves the monitoring of network optimisation, network performance and customer experience.
5. Will I be automatically upgraded to 4G LTE option or am I required to upgrade on my own once the 3G sunset is in place?
Consumers with 3G devices (i.e. non-4G capable) will be affected and they will be given prior notices before 31 December 2021 via SMS, emails and on other platforms from their respective service providers. By default, consumers will automatically be connected to a 4G network if they are using a device capable of supporting 4G. However, if a user manually disables the 4G option in their device settings, 4G connection will be disabled. For more details, please refer to your respective service provider.
6. Who will be impacted by the 3G Network Sunsetting?
7. How will I know if I am on a 3G Network?
You may check if you are on a 3G network by checking the network indicator on your device. The indicator is typically next to the signal bar. If it shows “3G”, it means you are connected to a 3G network. Alternatively, you may check with your respective service provider or search for device specifications in your device settings.
8. Do I need to change my mobile phone if I am currently using a 3G-only device?
Yes, customers are encouraged to change to 4G VoLTE supported devices to enjoy best network coverage and improved data speeds upon the sunsetting of 3G network. Please refer to your respective service provider for more details.
9. Can I continue to use 3G since I do not wish to migrate to 4G LTE network?
The retirement of 3G network is a joint initiative by all mobile service providers and MCMC to ensure wider 4G coverage and better quality of experience for all. Hence, you will not be able to use the 3G network once shut down by the end of December 2021. Please refer to your respective service provider for more details.
10. Do I need to change my existing plan to enable 4G?
If your current devices are 4G ready, you may continue to enjoy the service without having to change plans or devices. You may refer to your respective service provider for more details.
11. What is VoLTE?
VoLTE is known as “Voice over LTE”. The technology allows customers to enjoy high-quality calls on 4G LTE network. You may refer to your respective service provider for more details on this service.
12. What is the benefit of VoLTE?
With VoLTE, you will be able to enjoy better calls, as it enables highdefinition (HD) voice quality. Phone calls can be connected much faster, and you can talk and surf at the same time on your network with VoLTE.
13. What Phones support VoLTE?
14. Does VoLTE consume more data?
No, VoLTE calls will be charged as per customers’ existing mobile service plan/pack and would not consume any additional data.
15. How about my call minutes? Does VoLTE consume my call minutes?
Calls made over VoLTE will be charged in accordance to your call minutes’ charges, based on your mobile plan or package. If you are making a video call, or a voice call over 3rd party apps such as WhatsApp, an average one-minute call will consume 6-8MB of data. Hence, be mindful of data usage while making these types of call. For more details, you may refer to your respective service providers.
16. Which network offers VoLTE?
Celcom Axiata Berhad (“Celcom”), Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd (“Digi”), Maxis Berhad (“Maxis”), U Mobile Sdn Bhd (“U Mobile”), Telekom Malaysia Berhad (“TM”) and YTL Corporation (‘YTL”).