2G is a short form of the second-generation cellular network. It was commercially launched in Finland by the telecom operator Radiolinja in 1991. A 2G SIM card is a kind of SIM card designed to use with 2G handsets. All the mobile networks systems were retroactively called 1G after the launch of 2G. The first generation (1G) mobile handsets allowed only voice communication, but after the introduction of 2G, data transmission along with voice communication was made possible. However, 2G can transfer data at a sluggish speed, which is insufficient for media-intensive applications and communications. There is much more to know about what a 2G SIM card is, so let’s explore everything in detail.
Definition of 2G SIM card
A 2G SIM card is compatible with 2G handsets and IoT (Internet of Things) devices, with a maximum data transfer speed of 40 kbps (kilobits per second). The 2G standard later evolved into 2.5G (GPRS) and 2.75G (EDGE) giving a slightly high speed of data transfer. To know whether your SIM card is 2G, 3G, or 4G, look at the SIM card carefully. If it doesn’t have 3G or 4G written, it is a 2G SIM card.
Is 2G Still Available?
If we talk about India, 2G networks still fetch substantial revenue even in the big cities like Delhi and Mumbai. In most countries around the world, 2G is still working and bringing in a good income to the operators. Users of the 2G service are predominantly those who use feature phones. They may also utilize IoT devices like CCTV cameras, medical sensors, smartwatches, and smart security systems.
In low-income countries, there are numerous subscribers who still use feature/basic phones and hence they operate on 2G networks. In fact, 2G network is more popular than the 3G network. After the inception of 4G and soon 5G services, the 3G user base started declining. Many telecommunications companies around the world are shutting down their 3G networks while retaining the 2G ones.
Compatibility of 2G SIM card
2G SIM cards are compatible with basic phones/dumb phones, feature phones, and IoT devices. The present smart devices like smartphones and tablets will also work with 2G SIM cards, but the data speed will remain low. The 2G SIM card will have no issues in making calls no matter what generation device you use. However, the data transfer speed will be considerably lower, whether you use this SIM card in a 3G phone or 4G phone.
Shutting Down of 2G Networks
Many telecom companies in the world have phased out their 2G network. Another portion is planning to phase it out sooner or later. In India, only Reliance Jio operates on a pure 4G-VoLTE network, that’s why it doesn’t provide a 2G SIM card. BSNL, Airtel, and Vi are still operating on the 2G network for their feature phone users.
Many mobile networks across the globe have shut down their 2G network and hence provide 2G SIM cards no more. Some notable companies around the world which have phased out their 2G services are Optus, Telstra, and Vodafone in Australia; Bell, Rogers, Telus, and SaskTel in Canada; China Unicom in China; au KDDI, NTT DOCOMO, and Softbank in Japan; Singtel and Starhub in Singapore; AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon in the USA.
2G SIM card is the oldest generation of SIM cards that remains active globally. As technology advances, once widely used technologies become ancient. Surprisingly, 2G networks technology is still in use despite being more than 30 years old, while its successor, 3G, is becoming obsolete and is rapidly shutting down across the world. As long as the 2G networks are available, 2G SIM cards are here to stay. However, it is to be noted that 2G SIM cards are soon going to be the thing of the past.