Singapore has announced the official discontinuation of its 3G network service on July 31, 2024. This means that existing subscribers of the local telecommunications providers M1, Starhub, and Singtel, as well as their MVNOs, who are still using 3G handsets, will no longer be able to access the internet and make voice calls.
To continue using the services provided by M1, Singtel, and Starhub, all subscribers must upgrade their SIM cards and phones to at least 4G. It is crucial that the new handsets are VoLTE capable and certified to work with the chosen carrier in order to make voice calls over 4G.
This change not only impacts end users but also equipment relying on 3G, which will cease to function. Such equipment needs to be upgraded to support at least 4G.
Even tourists visiting Singapore will need to be equipped with a 4G phone with VoLTE Roaming capability to roam on the local networks.
The freed up 3G band will be redeployed for 5G.
It’s worth noting that SIMBA users will not be affected by the shutdown of 3G service, as the network originally operated as a 4G-only network.
M1, Singtel and StarHub will retire all 3G services, including voice, messaging and data, which are no longer widely used in Singapore, with effect from 31 July 2024.
With the retirement of 3G networks, mobile operators will be able to repurpose some of the freed-up spectrum to improve 5G services, which offer faster speeds, higher data throughput, as well as enhanced security and reliability.
Over the last few years, mobile operators have been conducting outreach programmes to encourage 3G customers to migrate to newer 4G and 5G mobile networks. These newer networks are already Singapore’s preferred mobile networks and serve as crucial enablers for consumer and enterprise users. Only a small percentage of customers continue to use 3G services, comprising users on older mobile devices or SIM cards that cannot connect to newer 4G and 5G networks.
In the coming months, proactive measures will be taken to communicate the transition to 3G users and extend assistance to those who need help migrating.
For customers who are on 3G-only or early release 4G handsets*, a wide range of 4G and 5G handsets are available at different price points to enable customers to migrate to newer networks conveniently.
For customers who are still using 3G-only SIM cards, they can visit their operator’s website to find out where to upgrade their SIM cards.