Japanese telco SoftBank has postponed its 3G switch-off due to the recent earthquake.

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In a statement, the operator revealed it has moved the shutdown date to April 15, 2024.

The initial switch-off date was set for January 31, 2024.

"However, in consideration of the difficulties some customers are facing when switching from 3G to 4G/5G services due to the earthquake, SoftBank is postponing the discontinuation of its 3G service to April 15, 2024," said SoftBank in a statement.

"If there is any further extension to the discontinuation date for customers in disaster-affected areas, SoftBank will provide updates in due course."

The earthquake struck the Noto Peninsula on January 1, recording 7.6 on the Richter scale.

The earthquake, which has claimed the lives of 232 people so far, toppled buildings and sparked a major fire. More than 1,000 were injured, while 21 people remain injured.

SoftBank noted that all 3G plans will be canceled on April 16, 2024.

Domestic rival KDDI has worked with SpaceX subsidiary Starlink to restore Internet services in the country in the wake of the earthquake.

KDDI called time on its 3G network in March 2022.

Operators across the world have chosen to discontinue their 3G networks in favor of expanding on their 4G and 5G networks instead.