The End of 3G - Switching off the UK’s 3G mobile networks and what you need to know

The End of 3G

The End of 3G:  Switching off the UK’s 3G mobile networks and what you need to know

In December 2021, the government made an agreement with mobile network operators that 2G and 3G services would be phased out by 2033. 3G services rely on older, less efficient technology and are costly to maintain.

Mobile providers are switching off their 3G networks, starting early this year. This will affect those of you using older mobile devices and services. If you have a 4G or 5G mobile device or service this change is not likely to affect you, it is possible, however, that you may need to check your software or look at settings updates.

The phasing out will be gradual across the different operators:
•    Vodafone and EE have both already begun the process and are planning to complete it by early 2024.
•    Three expects to complete the switch-off by the end of 2024
•    O2 are planning switch off in 2025.

These are the four main mobile network providers in the UK. All other mobile companies provide their services over these networks so switch off timings for other providers will be the same as the network they are using.

If you're using a mobile device that only supports 3G, then this means you'll need to replace that device with an alternative that supports 4G/5G, or else you will be left without a mobile connection when the 3G service is fully shut down in your area. Such 3G-only routers you may have bought via Solwise are the Teltonika RUT500, RUT230 and the Solwise 434T, 51R, 53R.

If your 3G device is a router then an ideal replacement to consider would be the Teltonika RUT241 or the Teltonika TCR100. If your 3G device is an antenna then the 5G XPOL-1-V2-21 is a good alternative but we do have many options depending on how you wish to mount it.

See our full range of routers

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All mobile providers have confirmed they will switch off their 2G services after the 3G service is switched off, there are no specific dates as yet however EE as said it will switch off 2G ‘later this decade’.

Around the world
The 2G and 3G networks are gradually being switched off around the world. Each country has a different timetable for switch-off so be sure to check if you are travelling and taking a mobile device with you.

Further details from OFCOM