Macau’s Bureau of Telecommunications Regulation (DSRT) has postponed the country’s planned switch-off of 2G services for Macanese subscribers to 1 January 2013, from the previous deadline of 9 July 2012. Cellcos in the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) will provide exclusively 3G services to their subscribers from the start of next year, with their 2G networks to be restricted to offering roaming-only services for tourists from that date. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database shows the penetration of 3G services in Macau reached 95% of all mobile subscribers in the territory at the end of March 2012, when there were 1.35 million 3G customers. The regulator stated that there were 30,000 remaining 2G subscribers at the end of May 2012, and noted that some residents remained concerned about the full transition to 3G service, and therefore decided to allow more time to complete the switchover.
The SAR’s largest cellco, Companhia de Telecomunicacoes de Macau (CTM) said that it welcomed the DSRT’s decision to extend local 2G services until the end of this year, giving more time for ‘residents to get acquainted to 3G service while enabling telecom operators and the government to further discuss the service transition in details in accordance with the actual response of the market.’ CTM added it was making efforts to help senior citizens and members of vulnerable groups in society to complete 3G network migration, with special packages offered including ‘CTM Elderly Buddy’.