Sunset on 2G, GPRS and 3G Networks Confirmed During IET Talk by BT’s Prof Andy Sutton


Digital Mobile Network Evolution Triggers the Sunset for 2G, GPRS and 3G

During the evening of the 24th October in a presentation entitled “Digital Mobile Network Evolution, from GSM to 5G” by the eminent Professor Any Sutton of British Telecom BT/EE for the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) at the University of Suffolk, Andy confirmed the inevitable that the sun was setting fast on the 2G, GPRS and 3G networks with closures commencing as soon as 2022.

The highly informative lecture was well attended by Members of the IET, young and old alike from across the South East. It covered the history of the cellular networks, the technology in particular base-station design and delved deep into the complexities of antenna including the little previously known about change in polarisation that has been introduced across all networks to shrink antenna size to accommodate planning constraints to allow for the necessary much denser cell spacing required to plug in holes between the original base station sites which both lack reach and are often congested.

Cellualr Tower

Space Saving Cross Polarised Antenna Mast

Revelations during the talk included that 2G and GPRS coverage was already being thinned, or to use his exact words “re-purposed” to assist the current deployment of 4G. Further, a change in network polarisation from vertical to cross polarised had enabled a substantial reduction in tower size as shown opposite, all be it at the sacrifice of range and efficiency. He stated that research had shown that since the demise of the “car kit” most portable cellular device handsets were held at a slant and not plum vertical, so the impact was just a few dB on average. However, he failed to offer any impact assessments on legacy field devices such as data loggers that have fixed vertical antenna. His final revelation was his strong believed that NBIoT would soon dominate the IoT market, pushing aside both LoRa and Sigfox.

As IET Mentors all we can say is if you want to attend similar lectures to this and to keep your finger on the pulse then why not join the IET. . There are various classes of membership from Student, Associate, through to Member and Fellow. For more information please flow


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