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The end is nigh for 3G

Press release -

The end is nigh for 3G

(Fornebu, 13. December 2018) During the course of 2020, Telenor will close the 3G network in order to provide an even better service on its 4G network. For many of Telenor’s private and business customers, this means that phones, tablets and other devices and services that use the 3G network must be replaced.

When 3G arrived in Norway in 2004, the technology was a tremendous innovation: for the first time, it actually became possible to browse the Internet using a mobile phone. But fast forward 14 years later - today there is almost no activity on the 3G network. - Far faster speeds on 4G are the norm nowadays.

‘In order to make way for solutions of the future, we are initiating the phase-out of 3G next year,’ says Bjørn Ivar Moen, Acting CEO of Telenor Norway.

The 3G network operates on two frequencies: The 900 frequency, which will be phased out county-by-county in 2019, is used in smaller areas and villages. The rest of the 3G network, which covers cities and larger towns, will be phased out during 2020.

In the autumn of 2018, it was announced that Telenor’s mobile network is the fastest in the world. Norwegian customers are avid consumers of mobile data. Every year, data traffic increases by 30-40 per cent, and more than 96 per cent of all data is currently being transmitted over over 4G.

‘To ensure that you get the best experience in the future as well, we need to increase our 4G capacity,’ Moen explains.

The change will be noticeable

Director of Coverage Bjørn Amundsen has been part of the expansion of the mobile network from its infancy in the early 90s to the present day in which we are on the verge of becoming a 5G society. He can clearly see the need to switch off 3G in order to provide a better 4G network. He is also asking private customers and businesses to take note that the changes may have direct consequences for many.

‘When we replace the 3G network with 4G, those who are currently using the 3G network to make calls or for data will be affected. This applies to those with 3G equipment (wildlife cameras, etc.), outdated SIM cards and people who are unable to activate 4G Calling on their mobile phones.

Think back to when we used FM radios and you would twiddle the dial to frequencies like 88.7, 93.5 or 98.3. Your radio would be talking to a broadcasting transmitter on one single frequency. This information exchange ensured that you received the broadcasts on that specific frequency.

It’s the same with mobile telephony: your mobile needs a radio signal to set up communication. Where there was previously space for 3G frequencies, we are now making room for 4G,’ Amundsen explains.

Call to the young

A significant proportion of phones and other services that will be affected by the closure of 3G are owned by older people. It is generally the young who have the latest devices. The elderly often sticks to what works.. When we switch off the network, much of this equipment will stop working or become less effective. If you use your phone to browse the Internet via 3G, your phone will in most cases still be able to make calls over the 2G network. However, it will not have Internet access.

Bjørn Ivar Moen’s advice is crystal clear:

‘If you are in any doubt about whether your phone is affected, check with the young people around you. Telenor’s customer services and Telenor stores are also on hand to help. And if you need a brand new phone, it goes without saying that we will help you to transfer everything on your old phone to your new one.’

He also encourages the young to help out:

‘If you know anyone affected by this, perhaps you could check whether they understand what is happening and help them? Those who will be affected will most probably appreciate it if their children and grandchildren help them to find a new mobile that suits them and to transfer all their content to their new phone,’ says Moen.


What is happening:

The phase-out work will begin in 2019 and will be completed in 2020.

The 3G network will be switched off county-by-county:

The 3G network will be switched off in the following counties in January, February and March: Agder, Buskerud, Hedmark, Trøndelag, Akershus, Hordaland, Oppland, Telemark, Vestfold and Østfold.

In April, May, June: Akershus (areas not switched off during first quarter), Buskerud (areas not switched off during first quarter), Hedmark, Hordaland (areas not switched off during first quarter), Oppland (areas not switched off during first quarter), Østfold (areas not switched off during first quarter)

In July, August, September: Møre og Romsdal, Trøndelag, Sogn og Fjordane

In October, November, December: Nordland, Troms, Finnmark, Svalbard

Who is affected?

Anyone with a 3G mobile who uses it to browse the Internet will no longer be able to connect by any means other than 2G. This will result in a significant speed reduction.

Those with 3G mobiles and 4G mobiles that do not support 4G Calling will be affected. Following the closure of the 3G network, 3G mobiles will automatically connect to the 2G network. This will result in longer connection times of around 15 seconds and the potential for poorer call quality.

If you have a wildlife camera, a heating system controlled by phone or other M2M equipment (machine to machine) that requires or only supports 3G, you will experience slow connections or your equipment will no longer work.


Telenor Norge AS is Norway's largest provider of telecommunications and digital services. Our infrastructure is the foundation for digitising Norway, with its world-class coverage and high speeds. Our services and products contribute to increased productivity and provide access to everything that the digital world has to offer. Our services and products help to improve productivity and provide access to all digital content. Our security and preparedness organisation works around the clock to keep our customers safe, and we are particularly aware of our social responsibility to provide security and safety for children and young people online.

We employ 3400 people in 23 offices across Norway and we are a part of the Telenor Group, which has operations in 12 countries. Our main office is located on Fornebu in Baerum. 

For over 160 years we have enabled people to communicate. We intend to continue. Our history makes us look to the future.

Telenor Norway AS is Norway’s largest digital service provider in the field of telecommunications and data services. We spend every day working at the forefront of digitising Norway. Our 3400 employees are based at our 23 offices across Norway, and we are part of the Telenor Group, which operates in 12 countries. Our services and products help to improve productivity and provide access to all digital content. Our security and preparedness organisation works around the clock to keep our customers safe, and we are particularly focused on our social responsibility to provide security and safety for children and young people online. Our head office is located at Fornebu in Bærum.

Telenor Norway
Snarøyveien 30
1360 Fornebu
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