Airtel Lanka primed to close 3G network this year

17 May 2022

Airtel Lanka will start to close down its 3G network from this month having received permission from the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL).

Part India's Bharti Airtel, the operator requested permission to wind down its 3G network in order to free up spectrum for its 4G operations. TRCSL said Airtel Lanka has 15 months to complete the action, in which time it must “absorb at least 90% of its 3G subscriber base into their (sic) 4G network during the transition phase".

From 26th June 2022, any subscribers using 3G-enabled devices will be automatically disconnected from the network. Prior to this deadline, Airtel is obliged to raise awareness of the 3G shutdown via publicity campaigns encouraging users to move to its 4G network. To facilitate the changeover, Airtel must also take steps to make 4G handsets available to its current 3G customers, including via promotions and subsidised devices that can be paid for in instalments.

TRCSL has ordered Airtel to notify its subscribers via SMS that they must switch to a 4G handset ahead of the deadline. Customers using 3G and 2G devices can receive concessionary 4G connectivity from Airtel until June 1 this year.