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3G will not be shut down by 2025

Mayor / Maire

There seems to be a rumour that 3G will be completely decommissioned in Canada at the end of 2025. Not sure where it came from but none of the major operators I've spoken to have definitive plans at this time.

There are a lot of legacy devices, both in terms of phones as well as IoT devices like point-of-sale terminals that are still on 3G. Not to mention VoLTE prepaid is only recently starting to gain traction.

Other than special cases such as Winnipeg and Brandon for Telus, there's no chance of 3G going away at the end of 2025. My guess is closer towards the end of the decade for a national shutdown.


I agree with you. It should've been completed sooner and faster.

Model Citizen / Citoyen Modèle

@sheytoon it's only slower here because business and gov move at a snail's pace innovating and changing.  Like @softech mentioned before, the US transitioned their 3G networks quickly and this is with a country 10x the population of ours.  I'm also guessing that "large enterprise customer" delaying the CDMA shutdown was a bank or gov.

If Telus started their prepaid VoLTE journey a few years ago, why is it finally being deployed now when it was desperately needed for PM/Koodo prepaid customers over a year ago to properly roam south of the border?

Thanks for all of your insights here....they are appreciated! 🙂

Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

I think another reason why Canadian carriers have to bother with VoLTE is so that services work when roaming in another country, I feel that's the main reason PM now has it.

@Kristowhycarriers do want to move forward, but it's always a slower process than expected, mostly because of legacy devices that don't want to upgrade. Look how long it took Telus and Bell to finally shut CDMA down. That was back in 2017 and 2019 IIRC. One of the reasons was a large enterprise customer in Toronto who was relying on CDMA equipment.

VoLTE and migration to 4G and 5G are absolutely necessary steps in Canada. I was just pointing out that it wasn't as urgent as the US. It will take time to roll out and sort out all the bugs. I believe Telus started their VoLTE prepaid journey a few years ago. If they wait until 2025 to start, it could put pressure on them down the road.

I don't know when 3G will be decommissioned, all I'm saying is there is no date as of now, and my guess is towards the end of the decade. For sure 3G will still be around at the end of 2025.

As for degraded call quality on 3G, it's hard for me to comment. I would need to look at network logs to get more info.

Model Citizen / Citoyen Modèle

@Anonymous absolutely...the start of prepaid/"subscription" VoLTE kicked off this acceleration...

Not applicable

no company will ever truly reveal what their true plans are. PM is a good example of that... end of 2024 3g for the average consumer will be gone. this is why everything is being accelerated... confirmation from someone who works at Telus doesn't mean anything. they are bound under contracts not to leak that info out or their jobs could be at jeopardy. 

Model Citizen / Citoyen Modèle

@sheytoon wrote:

Our LTE networks have held up well and still have excess capacity. That might be why we are seeing a dramatic increase in data allowances here.

Until our LTE networks are under stress, there's no real urgency to move spectrum to 5G.


 It's no surprise to me that there is excess network capacity when Canada has some of the most expensive data rates in the entire world! 😉  Also, data is really the only way to differentiate now with legacy voice calling becoming irrelevant.  The carriers have target ARPUs they are trying to drive and it's done by manipulating data amounts

@sheytoon if 3G networks are really here for another 6+ years, can you explain why carriers are even bothering with VoLTE?  And why are some customers noticing degraded 3G call quality if there is no rush to move spectrum to 5G?

@softech why are we so far behind?  Lack of real competition, minimal new use cases and a desire for carriers to milk the cash cow for as long as possible.  


@sheytoon   true, I agree 5G is not really needed for general consumers, 

@softech if I had to guess it's because US had true unlimited plans for a while, which caused congestion, and they also don't have any B7, which also exasperated the problem.

Our LTE networks have held up well and still have excess capacity. That might be why we are seeing a dramatic increase in data allowances here.

Until our LTE networks are under stress, there's no real urgency to move spectrum to 5G.

Just my 2 cents.



Why US could push and had it shut down already but why Canada is so behind?

Mayor / Maire

@sheytoon - I am in no rush to get rid of 3G, works fine for me. 

Mayor / Maire

@sheytoon  Thanks for the insight 🙂

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