China Unicom will no longer invest resources in its 2G network, according to an executive from China Unicom Guangdong's branch.
The company will still make necessary optimizations and adjustments to the network, but the unnamed executive quoted in local media said this year will see no more new cash infusions into new 2G services.
Prior to this, rival China Mobile made a similar decision. Xi Guohua, chairman of China Mobile, said during a shareholder meeting that the industry is undergoing a transition and the company needs to invest in the supporting devices for 4G development. Therefore, the group has stopped investment in 2G business. Meanwhile, the company will ensure the network quality and user experience of current 2G services.
In 2013, China Unicom already revealed that they will not invest in 2G business anymore and its CNY80 billion investments were mainly deployed to 3G business. At present, China Mobile has 780 million users and most of them are using 2G services. However, China Unicom's 2G user group is not that big.
A representative from China Unicom said that the company's 2G network mainly provides voice and low-speed Internet services. Though they stop the investment, they claim it will not adversely affect current consumers.
The international trend also shows that mainstream carriers are giving up investment in 2G. Finland issued the world's first 3G license in March 1999 and the country shut down 2G networks in 2010; Japan issued Asia's first 3G license in December 2000 and its three major telecom operators shut down 2G networks in July 2012; Telecom New Zealand closed its 2G CDMA network on July 31, 2012; and America's SprintNextel closed its 2G iDEN network in mid 2013.