Feeds

3 starts killing off 2G coverage

Orange schmorange

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

3 has started to switch off roaming onto Orange's 2G network in locations where it reckons its own coverage makes the 2G partner redundant.

3 doesn't run a 2G network in the UK, so customers wandering outside the 3G coverage have always roamed into someone else's 2G infrastructure. Initially that was provided by O2, more recently by Orange - but since October some areas are being asked to rely entirely on 3G technology, which isn't always up to the job.

3 is adamant that the number of customers left without connectivity is tiny, though that minority is a vocal one. 3 tells us it's only switched off the roaming agreement in places where its own (3G) coverage is comprehensive. The operator reckons that in many instances handsets are discovering Orange's 2G network first, so roaming onto it (at additional cost to 3) despite the fact that 3's 3G infrastructure is available.

Prior to the switch-off, for example, customers in central London (Holborn to be exact) were using 2G networks for three per cent of their calls. Since switching off, more than 90 per cent of that three per cent are being carried over the 3G network. The remaining few are either using 2G-only handsets, or are in basements/concrete-lined rooms into which the 2.1GHz 3G signal can't penetrate.

3 never supplied any 2G handsets, so such things must have come from another network. 3 tells us it's "reaching out" to owners of 2G-only handsets who might find it an opportune time to upgrade.

We've asked 3 for details of which areas have been designated 3G-only, but are still waiting to hear - the operator has told us it doesn't have a timetable for switching off roaming entirely, but will switch off 2G coverage when the proportion of calls being carried over 2G falls below a specific level.

Such calls obviously cost 3 as it has to pay Orange for the carriage. 3 is actively extending its 3G network, which is in the process of being merged with Everything Everywhere's 3G network, and would obviously be happier if it could switch off the 2G technology entirely. It would certainly be the first network to do so.

Vodafone and O2 will be watching that process closely - they too are keen to dump the legacy tech, so they can clear the spectrum for 3G (UMTS900). So while 3 may be the first to start turning off 2G it won't be the last, and if you are one of that "tiny minority" then you might want to give 3 a bell and see what it'll offer you to stay. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.