More capacity on KPN's mobile network with 3G-frequencies

KPN will start phasing out its 3G network on 31 March

Tomorrow, KPN will start phasing out its 3G network. The 3G frequency bands will subsequently be utilized for additional capacity and speed on 4G and 5G. The end of 3G will have no effect on the majority of KPN’s customers since they are already making use of 4G and 5G. In some cases, however, 3G users will – if they take no action – drop back to 2G for voice and data.

Thanks to the arrival of 4G in 2013 and 5G in 2020, very little use is being made of 3G nowadays. Only around 1% of all KPN’s mobile data traffic is still transmitted via 3G. Partly for that reason, KPN will start phasing out its nationwide 3G network on 31 March, after almost 20 years of service. KPN will do that with great care, beginning with a few pilot schemes in April and then moving on to a phased shutdown. In time, the 3G icon will no longer be seen on KPN customers’ screens.

3G was a breakthrough in mobile internet
A special moment because the introduction of 3G in 2003 facilitated the breakthrough of the smartphone and helped to ensure the success of mobile internet. So successful was it that, a mere ten years after it was introduced, 3G had reached its limit. The arrival of the much faster and better 4G network in 2013 came at an opportune time. From that moment, mobile broadband was just as fast as its fixed counterpart and we all increasingly started to use mobile data.

More capacity for latest mobile networks
The old 3G network occupies KPN frequency bands that KPN wants to utilize for 4G and 5G so as to give users even more capacity and speed. This is necessary as customers’ data usage continues to rise. KPN will also make savings in equipment and energy by stopping 3G.

Customers informed
KPN announced in 2018 that it would shut down its 3G networks and in the last few years has informed affected customers accordingly. A large number of customers have already taken action. KPN therefore anticipates few problems, given that there are currently only a small number of 3G-only users and that the process is being carried out with great care.

2G remains in service for a few years
If the last few 3G users have taken no action yet, it could mean that they drop back to 2G for voice and data. For instance if they have an older phone that is unsuitable for 4G. With 2G, these users will remain accessible in the years ahead and the call quality will be the same, but data will be transmitted at a considerably lower speed.

Customers who are unsure whether the switch from 3G to 4G, 5G or 2G will impact them can check if their connection and handset are suitable for making optimal use of KPN’s mobile network.


Video: State of the mobile network of KPN
Watch the video edition of State of the Network in which we show how KPN’s mobile network has evolved over the years and how new technology like 5G is replacing old technology.