Mobile operators are phasing out their 3G network to make way for the more advanced 4G and 5G technologies providing a faster and better service than the 3G technology. If you have a recent phone, it will support 4G and perhaps 5G as well. Older phones will still allow you to make calls but surfing will only be possible to a limited extent through the 2G network. Your phone settings will show you which technologies your device supports.
Questions about the 3G phase-out? Contact your operator.
For years data consumption on the 3G networks has been plummeting.
The BIPT report on the status of the electronic communications and TV markets in 2022 concluded that mobile data are most often transmitted through the 4G network (96.3%). In 2022, only a mere 2.2% of the mobile data still used the 3G networks.
In order to create more room for the faster 4G and 5G networks, Proximus, Orange and Telenet/BASE announced that they will switch off the 3G network in 2024-2025. The 4G and 5G networks are not only more powerful than 3G, they are also more energy-efficient. The switch-off will be carried out in phases and will start in:
- January 2024 for Orange’s 3G network;
- September 2024 for Telenet’s 3G network;
- the end of 2024 for Proximus’s 3G network.
Recent devices support 4G (and 5G). Users of those devices are not impacted by the 3G phase-out. Data traffic sent through the 3G network will mainly pass through the operators’ 4G and 5G networks following the phase-out.
Devices that do not support 4G or 5G can still use the 2G network for calls. Surfing with those devices on the other hand will become more difficult once the 3G network will be switched off. The 2G network does support low-speed data services but its user-friendliness is often rather limited. You can see which technologies your mobile phone supports in the device’s settings.
In the coming months, the mobile operators will inform their customers about the 3G phase-out. To that effect they have, among other things, web pages dedicated specifically to the switch-off.