AT&T plans to phase out its 2G service to support more advanced mobile Internet services on its 3G and 4G networks, the company said in a regulatory filing Friday.
The company said it expected to fully discontinue the service by the end of 2016. It said it would manage the process consistent with previous network upgrades and would "work proactively" to transition customers on a market-by-market basis from GSM and Edge networks (referred to as 2G) to more advanced 3G and 4G.
As of June 30, about 12% of AT&T's postpaid customers were using 2G handsets, the company said.
AT&T said the move was part of its ongoing efforts to improve network performance and address the need for additional spectrum capacity.
The company also said more than one-third of its postpaid smartphone subscribers use a 4G-capable device. The "substantial increases" in the demand for wireless service in the U.S. is causing AT&T to face "significant spectrum and capacity constraints on its wireless network in certain markets," it said.