With the rampant news of 2G / 3G withdrawal, 2G / 3G withdrawal is the general trend. However, the Internet of things used more 2G / 3G networks in the early stage of development. Now the 2G / 3G network has retired, where the future development of the Internet of things will go, and whether NB IOT and cat. 1 can support the future of the Internet of things is worth exploring.

2G / 3G network withdrawal is imminent

At present, 4G is the mainstream mobile communication system we are using. At present, we have entered the 5g era. Compared with 4G / 5G, 2G / 3G has more and more obvious deficiencies in resource occupation, technical indicators and operation and maintenance costs. The transformation of old and new kinetic energy and the intergenerational upgrading of mobile communication system must require the old system to withdraw from the historical stage.

2G / 3G withdrawal is also an inevitable choice for operators to make rational use of resources. At the network level, 2G / 3G withdrawal will release spectrum, iron tower, station site, power supply and other resources. Based on the national use of 2G frequency, the three operators had to pay 2G spectrum occupancy fee of 2.62 billion yuan per year, which is not a small expenditure, and the revenue generated by 2G also continues to decline. If they continue to occupy high-quality spectrum resources, the cost-benefit is very uneconomical. Therefore, it is necessary to reduce the frequency and withdraw the network, so that high-quality spectrum resources can be used for higher-income networks.

NB IOT and cat. 1 usher in new development opportunities

In terms of 3G network, due to the use of similar ladder charging, the expenditure of the three operators in this regard is much lower than that of 2G. Based on the national use of 3G frequency, the total 3G spectrum occupation fee of the three operators after 2014 is RMB 1.425 billion. Due to the scarcity of spectrum resources and the fact that there are few 3G users, 3G services can bring very little revenue, so it is more necessary to reduce the frequency and withdraw the network.

At the same time, spectrum replanting also helps operators obtain the golden spectrum to improve 4G / 5G coverage. 2G / 3G occupies 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100mhz frequency band, especially Sub-1GHz frequency band. Because low frequency has great advantages in indoor coverage and penetration, using these scarce low frequencies for 4G / 5G has become an important driving force for operators to withdraw from the network.

In addition, at the terminal level, 2G / 3G withdrawal will reduce the terminal system and reduce the terminal cost. The market of 2G and 3G modules has begun to decline sharply in 2019. With the emergence of new technologies and the increase in the demand for downstream applications, the technology of 2G / 3G modules can no longer meet the demand for new applications. Therefore, 4G, Nb IOT and 5g technologies have begun to carry out technical iterations. At present, the incremental market of 2G / 3G has been affected. With the cost reduction of Nb and cat. 1 modules, the 2G / 3G stock market will be replaced in a wide range in the future, laying a good foundation for 2G / 3G network withdrawal.

Therefore, 2G / 3G withdrawal is an inevitable choice for the upgrading of mobile communication. Operators around the world are exploring ways to reduce costs by shutting down old technology networks, or replanting 2G / 3G spectrum to deploy more efficient 4G / 5G technologies. GSMA statistics show that up to now, 28 2G networks and 10 3G networks have been shut down in the world. Other operators are also actively planning, and the three major domestic operators are also continuing to work in this regard.

As mentioned in the 2019 annual report released by China Unicom in April 2020, 2G / 3G frequency reduction and network withdrawal will be promoted in different regions in 2020, so as to reduce network operation costs and re cultivate spectrum resources; In March 2019, Fuzhou radio administration sent a letter to Fuzhou mobile, announcing that it agreed to cancel the TD-SCDMA Base Stations of China Mobile Fujian Co., Ltd. Fuzhou branch, and 6535 TD-SCDMA base stations were cancelled this time; Since June 1, 2020, China Telecom Yunnan company has gradually shut down 3g-evdo data services. At the same time, it is suggested that users still using 3g-evdo data services choose 4G and 5g data services with better services.

NB IOT and cat. 1 usher in new development opportunities

In the field of Internet of things, 2G / 3G network previously carried more Internet of things users. Therefore, 2G / 3G frequency reduction and de networking requires a very mature alternative to continue to provide services to these users, so as to meet the requirements of the Ministry of industry and information technology. From the perspective of current industrial development, the alternatives for Internet of things users are mainly the maturity of Nb IOT and cat. 1.

In May this year, the general office of the Ministry of industry and information technology officially issued the notice on further promoting the all-round development of the mobile Internet of things, which is the first time that the Ministry of industry and information technology officially proposed the 2G / 3G migration and network transfer in the form of a public document, making it clear that while ensuring the network service level of the existing Internet of things terminals, it will guide the new Internet of things terminals not to use the 2G / 3G network, and promote the existing 2G / 3G Internet of things business to NB IOT / 4G (cat. 1) / 5G network migration.

For the Internet of things application scenarios with low power consumption and large connection, 2G connection was more used before, and Nb IOT is a more suitable alternative in this field. Compared with Nb IOT, cat. 1 mainly faces the medium and low rate scenarios of the Internet of things. Previously, there was no specific applicable technology for these scenarios. Users will select 2G, 3G and 4G networks respectively according to cost sensitivity, so as to form diversified forms and form an integral part of 2G / 3G user group. Cat. 1 is commercially mature and will gradually unify the connection technology of these scenarios.

For NB IOT, the number of Nb IOT base stations will reach 700000 in 2019. In the future, the infrastructure construction of Nb IOT will have room for further growth, which will not only provide high-quality network services to Internet of things users, but also further realize the breadth and depth of coverage, forming a large-scale replacement for 2G.

For cat. 1, there is little difference between its uplink rate and downlink rate and 3G, which is a priority to replace the original 3G Internet of things scenario. By the end of 2019, the number of 4G base stations in China has reached 5.44 million, which has the infrastructure conditions to provide cat. 1 access services nationwide. A national coverage rate of nearly 100% will bring a better user experience. In terms of application, conventional industries applicable to cat. 1 network include POS machine, intelligent monitoring, wearable device, locator, intelligent parking, cloud speaker, public network intercom, environmental management, shared charging pile, shared charging treasure, etc.

At the same time, the cat. 1 industrial chain is becoming more and more perfect. Major cat. 1 chip manufacturers include Ziguang zhanrui, Qualcomm, ASR, MediaTek, sequans, Altair, etc. Ziguang zhanrui and ASR’s cat. 1 chips are mainly used in the domestic market. Ziguang zhanrui has also recently launched the world’s first LTE cat.1bis Internet of things chip platform chunteng 8910dm with higher cost performance. Domestic mainstream module manufacturers have launched cat. 1 module one after another, and the module price has kept hitting a new low. According to the latest procurement results of China Telecom, the price of cat. 1 module has entered the range of less than 40 yuan.

Although driven by various spectrum policies, operators have started 2G / 3G spectrum re farming, the 2G / 3G spectrum previously allocated to operators has been greatly compressed, and a large number of high-quality spectrum resources have been used for 4G and Nb IOT. However, 2G / 3G withdrawal of operators is also a gradual process. At present, the maturity of Nb IOT and cat. 1 can provide alternatives for 2G / 3G, but it is not enough for all-round alternatives. For incremental users, education should be carried out from the perspective of market trend. The existing 2G / 3G Internet of things connections cannot be forced to withdraw from service, but users can make decisions to accelerate their withdrawal through various market-oriented means. Only when the alternatives are mature enough can the spectrum resources of 2G / 3G network be fully released to better serve the Internet of things. There is still a long way to go for the development of Nb IOT and cat. 1.

      Editor in charge: Tzh

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