New Zealand telco Spark has announced it will shut down its legacy 3G network towards the end of 2025, freeing up limited radio spectrum to enable the rollout of 5G in rural areas. Few customers will notice the change, the company said, highlighting that only 4% of Spark’s total network data traffic was currently carried over 3G and voice calls on the technology had declined by 70% since 2019, while its 4G network now covers 98% of the country’s population. The company assured customers it would be enhancing 4G coverage in the few areas where 3G is currently the only service available.

Spark’s Chief Operating Officer, Mark Beder, commented: ‘Our 3G network enabled New Zealanders to use the internet for the first time on their mobile phones. And while it’s served us very well, 14 years on, newer mobile generations are far better suited to meet today’s needs. We want to assure customers that we will be enhancing 4G coverage in the few areas where there is currently only 3G available and we’ll continue to invest in both our 4G and 5G networks ahead of the 3G closure.’

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