With the launch of the first LTE networks the end of 2G GSM networks is on the table. Operators will not be able to maintain 3 networks at the same time. OPEX will be too high with no additional revenue.
It’s already the case in the US : AT&T in the US is urging its customers to upgrade to 3G.
But the question is, will the 3G / 4G networks be able to offer the same coverage and quality of service ? When one looks at the Europe 3G coverage map one can seriously doubt it in some countries like Britrain or France. Just have a look at the O2 networks in the UK :
The real issues there are geography and population. When the population is not spread regularly on the territory there are holes in the coverage.
So the launch of LTE and the switch over from 2G will be tricky in some countries.