Vodafone has announced it will be closing its 3G network in the UK in 2023, with the switch off to begin in February.
According to the telco’s website, the 3G network in the Plymouth and Basingstoke areas will be switched off next month. “We’ll share more information about our plans to switch off 3G across the rest of the UK soon,” Vodafone said.
The switch off is the first step in a programme that will see 3G coverage phased out in the UK, to be replaced by more reliable 4G and 5G services.
Vodafone has said that today, less than 4% of the data used on its network travels on 3G – down from 30% in 2016.
Vodafone’s UK CEO, Ahmed Essam, previously said about the switch off: “We’re building the UK’s most reliable mobile network, and focusing on the technologies that best connect our customers and have the least impact on the environment. 3G has connected so many customers over the last 17 years, but the future is 4G and 5G.
“We’re going to be focused on giving customers a faster and more reliable mobile experience, and minimising our impact on the environment by taking away a layer of our network that uses inefficient equipment.
This announcement follows a decision early in 2022 in which UK Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) committed to retiring their 3G networks in 2033.