South Africa will outright ban retailers from importing and selling 2G devices at the end of March next year as the country pushes to modernise its telecoms infrastructure.
The ban was announced as operators in South African operators upgrade their networks to 4G and 5G, to which operators need to free up spectrum in 2G and 3G.
This was revealed by communications and digital technology minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni at the 2022 World Telecommunication Development, who stated March 31 will be the latest the government will enforce the ban, with hopes to enforce within this financial year, reported Tech Central.
The minister said upgrading South Africa’s network is part of the government initiative SA Connect which is geared towards getting more citizens online.
“The SA Connect programme will be complemented by a robust programme to modernise our networks in partnership with industry, which entails the full deployment of 4G and 5G networks by 2025,” said Ntshavheni.
“To enable this, we will shut down 2G and 3G networks over the same period and this financial year we will commence with the prohibition of the importation and distribution in South Africa of 2G devices.”
Tech Central reported Telkom has switched off the majority of its 2G network, however MTN and Vodacom still has millions on their networks.
MTN recently announced an expansion into the Western Cape province this year with its 5G deployment which costed it US$51.5 million.