In general, countries with full coverage of 4G LTE will sunset 2G by 2020 and 3G by 2025.
In countries that need to support existing deployments of handsets for customers needing low cost equipment, 2G GSM likely will sunset by 2025 and 3G by 2030 at the latest. An exception is China, where 2G CDMA 1xRTT and 3G CDMA EV-DO may continue to 2030 – more likely in rural areas.
2G GSM sunsets have already occurred in the USA – e.g., with the AT&T sunset at the end of 2016 and others to follow – and are imminent in Canada and Mexico. 3G HSPA is likely to be sunset around 2020 (for AT&T and T-Mobile) and 2022 (for others).
2G 1xRTT and 3G EV-DO in the USA will begin to be sunset at the end of 2019 (for Verizon) and 2022 through 2023 (for Sprint and others). Canadian CDMA services will sunset sooner - a number of the carriers have done so already.
Many countries in Latin America will likely continue 2G GSM and 2G CDMA past 2020 to support their low-cost handset users, but will sunset these technologies around 2025.
Due to the large existing deployments of M2M and IoT devices, we believe that most European carriers will continue to provide 2G GSM service past 2020, perhaps through to 2025.
In some EU countries, where 4G LTE was deployed late, 3G HSPA services may continue through 2025, but this should not be expected. Note that a few countries may skip expanding their 3G networks for complete geographical coverage, in favor of 4G LTE.
In some smaller, more economically-advantaged countries (such as Singapore), 2G GSM service has been sunset. In countries that are used to rapid technology changes, 2G GSM has also been removed, or the sunset is imminent.
Australia has removed 2G GSM.
China is an exception, with its 2G CDMA services that are likely to continue through 2030. This is due to the large number of deployed handsets that must be changed.
Cellular service in vast regions of the continent is not available due to a low population density. However, cellular is a growing and attractive alternative to land-lines in many areas due to the high cost of copper.
As a result, deployed 2G GSM networks serve users quite well and are unlikely to be sunset too quickly – we may see removal perhaps by 2025 to 2030, except in larger urban centers where 4G LTE will be deployed.