Switzerland to phase out 2G mobile network, with 3G shutdown set for 2026

Switzerland to phase out 2G mobile network, with 3G shutdown set for 2026

Sunrise, the Swiss mobile telephone provider, has announced that it will be switching off its 2G cell network by the end of the year, after competitors Swisscom and Salt switched theirs off at the start of 2022. While the change will only affect older devices, the companies also announced that 3G will be phased out by the end of 2026.

After 30 years, 2G in Switzerland will be shut off

According to the Tages-Anzeiger, the 30-year-old 2G network - set up to allow users in Switzerland to make cell phone calls and send SMS messages - will be phased out by the end of this year. The current generation of mobile phones require near-constant high-speed data connections to the internet in order to function properly, something 2G cannot provide.

The change is expected to affect some alarm systems for lifts, older car navigation systems and some cheaper location-finding technologies. Homeowners and landlords are expected to be informed by lift companies as to whether their system needs upgrading.

For owners of older cars that use a 2G sat-nav connection, you will, unfortunately, be unable to use the system from the end of the year. Sunrise argued in a statement that customers have already been given “much more time” to make the necessary changes needed to stay connected.

3G mobile data network to be switched off in Switzerland by 2026

However, according to the Tages-Anzeiger, this is only the beginning of the changes. Swisscom and Sunrise have also announced that they will be switching off their 3G services by the end of 2025 and the end of 2026 respectively. Competitor Salt confirmed there are "no concrete plans to discontinue 3G technology," but the switch will be “inevitable in the medium term.” 

3G was originally launched in 2004 to allow people in Switzerland to use the internet on mobile devices, paving the way for smarter phones like the original iPhone and BlackBerry. Today, Swisscom estimates that 1 million devices in Switzerland still rely on 3G in order to function. If you are the owner of an old phone or device that cannot use 4 or 5G, it may be time to start planning an upgrade.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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