Singapore Telcos will no longer provide 2G mobile services from April 2017
SIM cards lie on a table in this photo illustration Reuters

Singapore telecom authorities announced on Wednesday that the sale of 2G-only mobile devices for local use will be banned from Jan 1. The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said if retailers or equipment suppliers are caught selling unregistered 2G-only mobile devices for use in Singapore, they could be given a financial penalty. They also said dealers, who have valid licence, might continue selling such devices but only for export or overseas use.

IMDA further added that this move to ban the sale of 2G devices for local use is a continuation of the process towards the withdrawal of 2G networks and 2G mobile services in the Republic on April 1.

"The retirement of the legacy 2G networks will allow IMDA to reallocate scarce radio frequency spectrum to meet the increasing demand for higher-speed mobile data and more advanced mobile services with rich multimedia content for consumers," the authority told Today Online.

IMDA will jointly work with Singtel, StarHub and M1 to continue helping 2G users migrate to 3G or 4G networks. The authorities said the customers would be updated about the latest developments through different sales locations and other channels. "We urge customers to upgrade to 3G or 4G-capable handsets early," Singapore telcos said.

The subscribers will have to check their current mobile phones whether those can be used for 3G network connections. If not, they would have to change their mobile phones to the ones that can.

"All mobile network operators currently offer low-cost 3G mobile phones, and affected users are advised to call or approach their (operators) for further assistance," said the IMDA.

Low cost 3G mobile phone packages will also be available to facilitate the change, including conversion of SIM cards to 3G-enabled ones. The 2G networks support voice telephone calls, SMS and basic Internet services were first introduced in Singapore in 1994.