This is yet another example of how operators in Europe are diverging from North American operators by opting to shut down 3G ahead of 2G. 3G is much less efficient in carrying data traffic than LTE which is twice better. 2G/GPRS is the workhorse for M2M services by operators. Also, the relatively small networks and markets in Europe and the amount of roaming makes a case to keep 2G operating for longer.
The interesting part is how will operators handle the shutdown 2G while over 75% of M2M connectivity uses it. In North America, there would probably still be a few GSM channels operating to service these devices. LTE would be overkill technologically for many of these applications not to mention its cost (today some $50 vs. $10 for GPRS module). Europeans on the other hand would be hoping that LTE-M would be well mature and at the right cost points by 2025.I still believe there’s room for low-power wide-area networks to make an impact particularly serving private networks. This is one angle where disruption in IoT space will come from. Having a flexible technology, business and operational framework fits well with the concept of IoT which is a fragmented and siloed market, which may always be the case as applications diverge greatly in requirements. The question is what impact will narrowband technologies in licensed spectrum will have and how they will eventually fit within the spectrum strategy of the operators who may or may not be considering IoT framework as they go about refarming 2G and 3G spectrum for LTE.