The sun is setting on 2G and 3G services in South Africa

Change is inevitable when you live in an ever-evolving world like ours, and one of the biggest changes on the cards for South Africans at large, is the end of the 2G and 3G network era. Let’s take a moment to understand what led us here and the possible implications this decision may have for you.

Back in 2022, then communications Minister Khumbudzo Ntshaveni announced the bold move to phase out 2G and 3G networks in the country. The plan included banning both the sale and licensing of 2G devices first, with deadlines set for the complete shutdown of these so-called ‘legacy’ networks. However, subsequent missed deadlines and stakeholder feedback from South Africa’s telecommunication networks, in addition to a cabinet reshuffle, call for a reevaluation of the original timeline and strategy.

Initially, the goal was to cease 2G services and prohibit the sale of new 3G devices by the 31st of March 2024, and all 2G and 3G devices were on-track to be decommissioned by March 2025. In terms of users, 2G only accounted for 4% of total mobile subscriptions in the country at the end of 2021, with a total of 60% making use of 3G networks.

South Africa’s decision, however, shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, considering that many other African countries began putting sunset strategies into place as far back as 2015, excluding first-world countries like the Americas and Asia, who followed suit a few years after. Perhaps South Africa’s late entry to the party is as a result of the drastic impact this decision will have on machine-to-machine and IoT services, POS devices, vehicle tracking systems, and legacy emergency services that are reliant on these earlier technologies. Entities including the Payments Association of South Africa (PASA) and the Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) have also expressed their concern regarding the economic implications and timing of the proposed transition.

This is excluding the varying debates among mobile networks in the country. Among the concerns raised regarding the ambitious timeline, there were also opposing views among providers as to which network should be shutdown first between 2G and 3G, as well as the concern around what kind of barriers South Africans would ace regarding the price of 4G and 5G-compatible devices.

While international examples do demonstrate that sunsetting both 2G and 3G networks has not resulted in negative material impacts, there are valid questions to be asked in relation to how developing countries are affected in comparison to their already developed counterparts.

What does this mean for you and your 2G and 3G RikRhino products?

While we await feedback from the Government regarding the missed deadlines, and a way forward, we at RikRhino have already begun preparing for this switchover to next-generation products and have introduced a new range of Wi-Fi and wireless products on our website. Our team has been diligently working behind the scenes to ensure a smooth transition for all our valued customers, as we understand the importance of staying connected and protected in today’s digital age.

As part of our commitment to sustainability and the responsible disposal of electronic devices, we do advise those of you who may still be in possession of 2G and 3G products to dispose of these in the proper way. This is to ensure that we aren’t disposing of electronic waste in a way that is detrimental to our environment. Where possible, we’d like to encourage you to recycle your old devices or find out how you can repurpose them in a safe way.

We imagine that there will be a number of you looking for guidance on how to select the right product to replace these 2G and 3G products, and we’d be more than happy to assist you! Our team Is ready to assist you in choosing the best Wi-Fi and wireless cameras that suit your unique needs. Whether you’re looking for security cameras for your home or business, or looking for an advanced feature for surveillance purposes, we have a wide range of products available on our new website.

To learn more about our latest range of products, or to receive personalised assistance in selecting the right camera for you, please contact our team on 021 023 0233 or 074 882 5939. Alternatively, you can sist our website today to explore the latest offerings and embrace the future of connectivity with RikRhino.