Chilean mobile operator Entel has confirmed it will begin the shutdown of its 2G network next year.

The company instead plans to focus on developing its 4G and 5G networks.

Feature: What the 2G and 3G shutoff means for 5G

Entel Chile
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In a statement, Entel said that it will start phasing out its 2G network midway through 2024, while it will stop selling new services over 2G from next month.

The operator did note that 100 sites will remain switched on as there are no alternatives in these areas. However, once these areas have access to 4G or 5G, 2G will also be shut down in these locations too.

“It will be a gradual and planned process, which will allow us to minimize any connectivity problem and advance in the process of updating our network throughout the country," said Entel sustainability and comms manager Francisca Florenzano.

"In addition, we have designed a communication and support plan specifically aimed at those users who could be affected by this measure, in order to facilitate this transition and ensure that it is carried out with the least possible impact for everyone."

Entel serves more than 10 million mobile subscribers in Chile. The operator signed an extended 5G partnership with Swedish vendor Ericsson last year, and also agreed a deal to sell its fiber optic business to local company ON*NET Fibra in a deal worth $358 million.

Operators across the world are switching off their 2G and 3G networks to accommodate the growing demand for 4G and 5G services.

Venezuela's regulator Conatel recently outlined plans to phase out 2G services in the country by the end of 2025.

Another South American operator, Tigo Colombia, switched off its 2G service in November, while in the US, T-Mobile announced plans to shut down 2G by April 2024.

French operator Bouygues Telecom said it will decommission its 2G network by the end of 2026.