2G services to be gradually phased out

Unified National Networks Sdn Bhd (UNN) will gradually cease operating 2G services, with a complete cessation by June 1, 2021.

This provides an opportunity for 2G subscribers to move to higher technology services, namely 3G, 4G and eventually, 5G.

“As of January 2021, only a small number of 2G subscribers remained. These subscribers are advised to contact their service providers to migrate to 3G or 4G services by changing their mobile SIM-cards as soon as possible, to ensure their availability of mobile services,” said the Authority for Info-communications Technology of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) and UNN in a joint statement.

“Friends and family of 2G mobile subscribers are also encouraged to assist the less tech-savvy users in their transition to using 3G or 4G services.

“UNN will work closely with all to ensure that subscribers are aware and informed before cessation of the 2G services. Measures will be taken to ensure any impact on service is minimal.”

Since mobile communication was first introduced in Brunei Darussalam by Jabatan Telekom Brunei (JTB) in 1989 using Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS), it has changed the way we communicate dramatically as opposed to the alternative fixed line telephone.

Mobile phones enable users to communicate while on the move, and its popularity has dominated the world.

The revolution of mobile technology in the country saw improvement throughout the years with the introduction of Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) in 1995 by Datastream Technology Sdn Bhd (DST).

GSM is a standard developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) the protocols for second-generation (2G) digital cellular networks used by mobile devices such as mobile phones and tablets. In 2005, 3G services were introduced with features such as video calls and mobile Internet, and later upgraded to better and faster Internet experience for video streaming and smart phone applications with the introduction of 4G technology in 2014. Each successive generation of mobile communications services introduced higher speeds and enhanced user experience.

Commencing on September 1, 2019, the networks of Brunei’s four telecommunications providers – Telekom Brunei Berhad (TelBru), DST and Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd (Progresif) and Brunei International Gateway Sdn Bhd (BIG) – were all consolidated under a single entity, the UNN.

In preparation for the next leap in technology, 2G services will be phased out and the 2G spectrum will be reused for the provision of more advanced mobile services, enabling UNN to deliver higher standards of service quality and reliability.

This aligns with UNN’s ongoing Radio Access Network (RAN) modernisation project which was announced on September 1 last year. This project aims to modernise the existing telecommunication infrastructure in the country to cater for higher and greater connectivity, bandwidth, as well as quality for the nation, in preparation for forthcoming 5G deployment.