Everything to know about the 3G shutdown in Singapore

May 13, 2024

If you haven’t already heard, the 3G network is counting down its final moments in Singapore. Starting from July of 2024, the change will be made to 4G and 5G networks only. Let’s dive deeper into this upcoming shift and prepare for it together!


A 3G, or third-generation network, is a revolutionary milestone in wireless communication technology. It utilises a network of phone towers to pass signals, ensuring a stable and relatively fast connection over long distances. This technology, introduced in 2001, marked the inception of widespread Internet usage on mobile phones.

Why is this happening?

A 3G network has a completely different network architecture compared to 4G or 5G networks. Operating in bands such as 800 MHz, 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,700 MHz, 1,900 MHz, and 2,100 MHz, 3G networks cover a wide spectrum to ensure widespread accessibility. Additionally, the network is designed for stability with reduced energy consumption, making it an efficient and reliable choice for mobile connectivity.

On the contrary, 4G and 5G networks operate using the Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) method, which allows simultaneous data transmissions to use multiple independent wireless frequencies that don't interfere with each other.

Since their network architectures are so different, 3G network devices aren’t compatible with the technology used by 4G or 5G towers. Hence, 3G-connected devices and applications can’t communicate with these towers.

As we embrace new technologies to deliver superior network speeds and coverage, close to 99% of Singapore mobile subscribers are on 4G or 5G, resulting in network providers choosing not to maintain the 3G network architecture.

What should be your next step?

The imminent shutdown of the 3G network in Singapore presents a significant challenge for businesses that still rely on this network architecture. First and foremost, these businesses need to swiftly transition to 4G or 5G networks to avoid loss of connectivity for their operations. This transition will require investing in replacement hardware and infrastructure capable of supporting 4G or 5G networks. But which one should you opt for?

The competition between 4G vs 5G networks has been long, and quite frankly – sometimes ends up in a tie. Both of these network generations have their stronger and weaker sides that should be taken into consideration before choosing one of them for your networking solution. Let’s see when each of these networks have a winning hand in the 4G vs 5G competition!

The differences between 4G and 5G

Current 4G LTE networks are built on Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) technology. In 4G, the Internet service is ultra-broadband, with data bandwidth being 2 Mbps – 1 Gbps.

5G networks are built on a new radio technology that uses high-frequency radio waves to deliver faster speed, lower latency, higher bandwidth, and more reliable broadband than 4G LTE networks. The use of high-frequency radio waves allows 5G networks to deliver exponentially higher download speeds reaching up to 10 and 20 Gbps, or 100 times faster than 4G.

In addition to the new radio technology, 5G networks also rely on established 4G LTE towers for basic coverage and small cells for their higher bands, which are small base stations often located in urban areas. These small cells are designed to provide 5G coverage, making it easier to install them compared to larger 4G LTE network towers.

Key information you must know

5G network can be divided into two deployment options: 5G NSA and 5G SA networks.


In NSA, the initial 5G deployments are built upon existing 4G LTE infrastructure, relying on its functions. The 5G radio access networks (RAN) is added on top of the existing LTE core network. This approach allows for a relatively quicker rollout of 5G services since it leverages existing infrastructure.

On the other hand, the 5G SA networks are built from the ground up with their own core network, which doesn’t depend on any other network. SA offers the full benefits of 5G technology, such as network slicing, ultra-reliable low latency communication (URLLC), and massive machine-type communication (mMTC). While more complex and expensive to deploy initially, SA provides greater flexibility and scalability in the long term.

Both SA and NSA 5G network deployment options are available in Teltonika’s devices, supporting the 5G network. It includes the RUTX50 cellular 5G router, and the TRB500 industrial 5G gateway.

4G LTE technology has several categories, from Cat 1 to Cat 20.


Each category provides a different level of performance and capability. Cat 1 represents the foundational level of LTE, offering basic connectivity suitable for applications like web browsing and VoIP. This technology can be found in Teltonika’s TRB141, TRB142, and TRB145 industrial gateways, as well as the TRM240 industrial cellular modem.

As we progress to Cat 4, there's a notable enhancement in performance, with increased maximum download and upload speeds, making it more adept for data-intensive tasks. A great example of this technology is Teltonika’s first-ever outdoor router: the OTD140, as well as the RUT241 and RUT951 cellular routers.


Moving further up the spectrum, Cat 6 introduces carrier aggregation, enabling devices to utilise LTE frequency bands concurrently for heightened bandwidth and faster data rates. This advancement facilitates even faster download and upload speeds, catering to the demands of modern applications and services. Cat 6 technology can be found in many devices, including the RUT260 and RUT361 cellular routers.

Continuing the progression, Cat 12, Cat 16, and Cat20 represent the pinnacle of LTE technology, boasting the highest maximum download and upload speeds available with 4G network. Equipped with features like 4x4 MIMO and higher-order modulation schemes, these categories optimise spectral efficiency, facilitating ultra-high-speed applications such as 4K video streaming or virtual reality.

A perfect example of this high-end technology are the aforementioned RUTX50 cellular 5G router and TRB500 industrial 5G gateway. These devices are not only 5G-compatible, but also backward compatible with a 4G LTE Cat 20.

Through these diverse categories, LTE technology offers users a spectrum of choices to match their connectivity needs, whether it's basic communication, entertainment, or cutting-edge experiences, ensuring a seamless and responsive mobile experience across a wide range of devices and applications.

Need a bit of help?

Changes are always hard and sometimes even quite scary. We’re here to assist you during the 3G shutdown and switch towards 4G and 5G connectivity. Don’t know which networking device to choose? Contact us and we’ll guide you through it!

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