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Millions of Android and iPhone owners warned of huge network switch off

Millions of Android and iPhone owners warned of huge network switch off

UK operators are preparing to pull the plug on 3G for good next month.

Vodafone will kick off the gradual process in February, starting with Plymouth and Basingstoke.


5G is the main focus of network providers nowCredit: Getty

And millions appear to be totally oblivious about the huge move.

The third-generation technology is now 20 years old and most places are covered by 4G instead.

Faster 5G is also rolling out.

Yet some Brits believe they’re still very much using 3G in their part of the country.

A quarter of mobile users claim they use 3G regularly, according to research by

And one in 14 say they rely on it entirely around their area.

Network providers have to shutdown 3G to make room for the newer, more advanced stuff.

The Government has actually given firms a deadline of 2033 to switch both 2G and 3G off completely.

Of the big four, Vodafone is aiming to decommission all its UK 3G services by the end of the year.

EE will also phase out the network throughout the year and is set to shut it down entirely sometime in the early part of 2024.

Three is also planning to close theirs next year.

O2 hasn’t confirmed final details for its 3G shutdown.

Vodafone, EE and Three have indicated that 2G will still be acting as a safety network for people that may not have access to faster speeds after 3G is gone.

“Although the network speeds 3G offers are slow by modern standards, there are still people that rely on this older generation network, especially in rural areas, as a primary means of connectivity,” said Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at

“Providers must also do more to make sure their customers are clear on what their timeline is for turning off 3G, and which towns and cities will be affected.

“People still using 3G-enabled smartphones that cannot access the more modern networks will need to upgrade their handset soon or risk losing access to their mobile data altogether.”

Most mobiles nowadays support 5G, while all others are 4G.

But older devices like the iPhone 4 only work with 3G.

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So if you’re still using a smartphone only capable of 3G, you’ll have to upgrade to a new handset sometime soon.

3G launched 20 years ago


3G launched 20 years agoCredit: Getty

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