A friend asked me for confirmation. Recently, a lot of news said that China Mobile “2G will clear the frequency and withdraw the network”. Is this true?

I told my friend that it was false news again.

A document issued by the Ministry of planning and construction of China Mobile was circulated online, which mentioned that “stop adding 2G Internet of things users by the end of 2020”, so someone interpreted it as that China Mobile is about to clear the 2G frequency and withdraw the network.

It takes three steps to close the elephant in the refrigerator: the first step is to open the refrigerator door, the second step is to plug the elephant in, and the third step is to close the door.

Similarly, 2G frequency clearing and de networking also requires three steps: the first step is to stop the development of 2G users, the second step is to transfer the existing customers to other networks, and the third step is to clean up the remaining customers, 2G frequency clearing and de networking, and the equipment is powered down and put into storage.

In the previous article, we reviewed the development of 2G Internet of things and said that stopping adding 2G Internet of things users is only the first step. Today, let’s discuss how to transfer stock customers to other networks.

Similar to stuffing elephants into refrigerators, moving stock customers is the most difficult step.

The difficulty lies not in how to solve a customer’s problem, but in how to smoothly complete the relocation of a large number of customers.

How many 2G customers are there in China? At present, there is no accurate statistics and disclosure of this data. But we can simply calculate:

According to the data released by the Ministry of industry and information technology, by the end of May 2020, the total number of mobile phone users in China was 1.592 billion. Meanwhile, the number of mobile Internet users announced was 1.319 billion. According to my understanding, these are either mobile Internet users or 2G users, about 273 million.

This is a huge number that many people can’t imagine.

It is equivalent to one out of every five people in China is still using 2G mobile phones.

This is quite different from our actual perception – we are surrounded by people with smartphones. Who are these 2G customers?

The first possibility: it is an old customer who uses the function machine.

Many of these customers are the elderly. They lack a sense of trust and thirst for knowledge in new things. They have formed a fixed use habit, which is not easy and unwilling to change. Some elderly people even fear the convenient operation of smart phones for fear that misoperation will bring losses. These users are unwilling to change their phones, let alone their cards. For them, simple telephone functions are enough and do not need to be upgraded.

For such stock customers, we can’t simply and rudely change their cards and forcibly migrate to 4G.

The frequency band of 4G network is high, the coverage of base stations is limited, and the coverage effect is less than 2G. Therefore, there are indeed some 2G individual users in stock because their residence and activity area are in remote areas not covered by 4G, so it is useless to change 4G.

The second possibility: early Internet of things customers.

In the early Internet of things business, the requirements for data communication are not high. Edge and even GPRS can fully realize the digitization of basic connection. Today, these connections can be completely replaced by 4G or Internet of things private network.

However, these customers also need huge manpower, material resources and time cost to replace the connection module. Generally, it is the most economical and reasonable ideal way to complete the migration of these customers simultaneously with the help of system upgrading or capacity expansion and transformation projects.

However, if there is no adjustment opportunity for the original Internet of things system in a short time, general operators are unlikely to take the initiative to find customers for migration.

After all, there are too many things to do. It doesn’t hurt to put things back that don’t contribute much to performance and don’t have urgent customer needs.

The third possibility is silent users.

Why does edge have low requirements for data communication?

The so-called silent user was first defined in the era of mobile dreamnet more than ten years ago. It refers to the customers who ordered the dreamnet service but did not use the service. During the rectification of dreamnet business and the cleaning up of false ordering business, “silent users” and “single tariff is too high” were the key cleaning objects.

2G silent users are users who haven’t had communication behavior for a long time. Some are cards sent when ordering packages, and some users don’t use them for a long time, forget or even abandon them.

However, these silent normal users do not owe fees and do not meet the conditions for account cancellation, so they still exist in the statistical statements of operators.

For e-commerce companies, even if the business is more viscous and has highly loyal users, as long as users do not purchase, there will be no income.

Telecom operators are different. He signed a commercial contract in the lease mode with customers. Instead of customers buying business once a month, he signed a contract once and paid for it for a long time. As long as the contract is not terminated, it means that customers have been contributing value to operators.

This is a business model that many enterprises envy!

However, from a long-term perspective, this approach also has disadvantages: if the contract between customers and operators does not end, operators must continue to provide services. Therefore, for silent 2G cards, operators cannot easily close and close their accounts.

Operators did not do nothing for silent users, and once hoped to clean up these customers by implementing the real name system and various opportunities. However, such cleaning behavior must also obtain the consent of the customer before changing the existing agreement. If the user does not agree or does not give feedback, the operator still has no choice.

Of course, as mentioned earlier, other cards are sent during package or bundle marketing. For operators, cleaning up such users is of no benefit. On the contrary, it reduces the number of customers and even has other negative effects on business statements. Why bother!

Overall, if there is no suitable opportunity to turn over the stock of 2G customers and move them to 4G, it is a thankless thing for operators.

It is necessary to identify and sort out hundreds of millions of 2G stock customers and carry out targeted relocation. Without strong organization and hard indicators, who will take the initiative to wade in this muddy water?

Therefore, operators take the initiative to sort out 2G stock customers and migrate them to 4G. Although it is conducive to reducing costs in the long run, it is still a very challenging task to safely or migrate or clean up these 200 million massive users in the short term.

Moreover, even if the migration of 2G stock customers is completed, the next third step is not to close the 2G network.

        Editor in charge: PJ

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