Mobile Network 3G Switch Off

What you need to know

Send us a message

Give us a call to start making your technology easier and more enjoyable.

0800 160 1111


The PSTN isn’t the only network being switched off, you know…

Just as the PSTN, or landline network, introduced us all to low-cost internet access, the 3G network that pioneered reliable wireless mobile data is also being turned off!

If your business still uses 2G or 3G services, carry on reading to discover the ‘whys, whats and whens’ of this significant change to wireless connectivity in the UK.

Why is 3G being turned off?

By switching off the legacy mobile networks, the ‘Big Four’ carriers (O2, Vodafone, EE and Three) can improve the UK mobile network infrastructure’s security, speed and reliability.

For example, removing all those masts will improve energy efficiency dramatically and reduce overall maintenance costs, too. More importantly, all that bandwidth can be repurposed for faster 4G and 5G services, supporting higher download speeds and offering a better, more reliable mobile experience for everyone!

When is it happening?

In 2020, the Government’s Telecoms Diversification Taskforce worked closely with industry to agree a cut-off date by which all mobile network operators would deactivate their 2G and 3G networks by the end of 2033.

Though changes are coming much sooner than you’d think, and you may not have realised but some networks have already shut down 3G services in certain areas, so it’s worth getting ahead while you can.

The switch-off date you’ll need to work to depends on your carrier:

  • EE – The EE 3G switch-off is well underway, with trial switch-offs already completed in 2023 and EE committing to turning off the vast majority of 3G services by March 2024.
  • Vodafone – Vodafone has also completed 3G switch-offs in a number of locations and plans to have completed the retirement of its 3G network by early 2024.
  • O2 – O2 plans to switch off its 3G services starting in 2025, and will release further details on its plan closer to the switch-off date.
  • Three – A recent blog on its website states that Three plans to phase out 3G by the end of 2024… but not much else on how its progressing.

2G on the other hand, won’t be switched off until 2033 because it’s still used for some essential infrastructure and systems including 63% of local councils, as well as many ambulance, police and fire services that use the network for radios and GPS.

What do I need to do?

The good news is that you probably don’t need to do anything to futureproof your business from the 2G/3G switch-off. Most consumer and business devices are 4G compliant and will continue to operate as normal following the switch-off of the 3G network.

However, many IoT, CCTV cameras, lone worker alarms and smart meters may leverage 2G or 3G as either primary or backup connectivity channels.

So, if you have any concerns or questions relating to the 2G/3G switch-off, please contact our expert team on 0800 160 1111, and one of our product specialists will be able to help guide you through the process.