In 2004, Swisscom introduced the 3rd generation of mobile telephony (3G) in Switzerland. 3G was revolutionary because, for the first time, it was now possible to transmit larger amounts of data over the mobile network. The maximum speed was 384 kbit/s. What was then groundbreaking technology has long since been overtaken by far more advanced, climate-friendly and energy-saving technologies. Mobile phone generations such as 4G and 5G have now set new standards, bringing more capacity to the network and facilitating a variety of mobile applications that are not possible with 3G, such as gaming, smooth streaming of TV content or downloading large websites or movies.
“We are constantly developing our network for our customers and will therefore switch off the 3G network at the end of 2025,” says Christoph Aeschlimann, Swisscom CTIO. “The 3G shutdown will allow us to further improve our network, as we will use the freed-up frequencies for 4G and 5G.” Today, only 1.1% of mobile data traffic still runs on the 3G network, but the technology occupies around 10% of the antenna capacity (ONIR). Due to the legal conditions in place, the ONIR capacity is limited so Swisscom must use it as efficiently as possible.
The switch-off at the end of 2025 will affect customers with 3G-only handsets, 4G devices that are not VoLTE-enabled and business customers with 3G solutions and 3G-based IoT applications. Swisscom will give its customers plenty of warning so that they have enough time for the changeover. There are several means by which customers can be shown how to easily and cost-effectively switch to the new technologies in order to use the services in the usual way. These include the Swisscom Shop, the hotline, or the business customer area where key account advisors are on hand to help.
Swisscom invests around CHF 1.6 to 1.7 billion annually in the expansion and maintenance of its ICT infrastructure. In this way, Swisscom ensures that customers are able to use a reliable, high-performance and modern network. New technologies make the network more sustainable. Swisscom has been operating its entire network with 100% renewable energy since 2010 and is increasing the network’s energy efficiency every year.