Telia Lithuania will begin switching off 3G networks from next month as the operator aims to shut down the network entirely by Christmas this year to satisfy rising customer data demands.
In a statement, the company announced it will begin switching off 3G connections from March 15 starting with eastern districts Aukstaitija and Zemaitija to the west by summer but large cities in between such as Panevezys, Siauliai and Kaunas will be bypassed.
By autumn 3G shutdowns will be seen in the districts of Suwalki, Dzukija, other small regions and all major cities. Capital city Vilnius and its surrounding areas will be the last location of the nationwide shut-off.
Customers currently on a 4G connection should expect faster download speeds when the shut off occurs, the operator claimed current average download speeds go up to 100Mbps. Those that continue to use a 3G device will be connected to a 2G connection, which will not be shut off due to its use by IoT devices and businesses.
A Telia spokesperson noted a large portion of devices currently connected to a 3G network are actually 4G compatible, and customers need to change their connectivity setting to automatic to pick up the faster signal.
The shutdown of 3G networks has been a topic for operators and regulators in eastern Europe over the last few years. Hungary recently announced a trade-in scheme to encourage 4G device adoption, as operators there are also poised to shut down 3G networks.