If you’re happy with 2G on your smartphone. I’d argue 2G is useful for things like IoT (if you have not rolled out say LoraWAN or are stuck with some smart device from say electricity), but for smartphones in this age where websites are this bloated? Nope. Maybe if you’re RMS and use a remote shell for e-mail, and e-mail yourself websites.
3G has a full PPPoA stack, which increases latency, reduces throughput / increases overhead, and increases the battery usage. 4G/5G don’t suffer from this. They’re full TCP/IP stack. They’re far more efficient for battery.
So what the Dutch providers do is allow^H^H^H^H^Hforce all smartphone usage to upgrade to 4G (standard now, available for like 7 years, and affordable past years), allowing to reuse 3G frequencies for 4G/5G (!!), while providing 2G for old legacy devices (a LOT!), including dumbphones.
Perhaps 2G is good enough for some light IM usage though.
The masses had no smartphone back then, but some people surely did. A friend of mine had a smartphone for over 2G, using PuTTy to administer mainframes over telnet and later SSH. At night. While being intoxicated.