3G mobile networks are gradually being switched off over the next couple of years. UK mobile services currently use four different ‘generations’ of mobile technology: 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G. The 3G network has been around since 2003 and is used to deliver calls, texts, and lower-speed data services.
Mobile providers have committed to switch off their 3G networks from next year.
Why is 3G being switched off?
Twenty years ago, 3G was ideal for the way we used phones and communicated. Since then, technology has continued to grow and improve, which means the mobile providers want to focus on making 4G and 5G networks even better.
Once they have switched off 3G, they will effectively be able to use that part of the network to boost the speed and capacity of both 4G and 5G – for faster and more reliable connections.
When Providers will switch off their networks
Each mobile provider is setting its timetable for its 3G network switch-off. The timings may change, so check with each provider for the latest information. Here’s a quick overview though:
- Vodafone is starting its switch-off in early 2023
- EE plan the switch-off in early 2024
- Three expects to switch off by the end of 2024
- O2 is starting its switch-off by the end of 2023
Who will be affected and how?
The 3G switch off will affect customers using older mobile devices and services that don’t have 4G or 5G capability. Those users will have to upgrade their devices.
The crossover between the 3G switch-off and 5G upgrade across the UK will also force more traffic through 4G. In certain areas at peak times, customers may experience more congestion and potentially slower speeds. It will only be temporary however, whilst 5G is rolled out and upgraded.
If you’re worried about any of your business phones or devices being affected then have a chat with our business telephone team about the best options.