Vodafone to switch off UK 3G network by end of 2023

Masses of 1000’s of predominantly older other people and the ones residing in rural spaces will probably be compelled to improve their cellphones through the tip of 2023, as (*18*)Vodafone units a closing date for switching off its aging 3G community subsequent yr with a promise that “no one will probably be left at the back of”.

Vodafone, which has about 18 million UK cellular shoppers, is to show off the virtually two-decade-old community as utilization dwindles to concentrate on the use of the freed up spectrum to increase its 4G and 5G networks.

Then again, the corporate, which is to segment out 3G alongside the similar timeline as EE-owner BT, admits that there are masses of 1000’s of shoppers who’ve caught with their 3G-only telephones, in particular older homeowners who’ve no longer been enticed to sign up for the smartphone revolution.

As well as, spaces of the United Kingdom together with portions of Cornwall, rural Scotland and north Norfolk nonetheless solely have 3G protection, in overall about 2.2% of the United Kingdom, even if there may be voice name capacity in those spaces because of a 2G sign.

“We commence speaking to shoppers about this these days,” mentioned Ahmed Essam, leader government of Vodafone UK. “Our objective is for everybody to stick attached, and we can be doing the whole lot we will be able to to be sure that is the case.”

Vodafone, which is launching an consciousness marketing campaign to ensure no shoppers are left within the identical of the virtual darkish when the 3G sign is switched off subsequent yr, estimates that neatly over 2 million persons are nonetheless the use of 3G handsets throughout all the UK’s cellular networks.

The corporate intends to inspire tech-savvy more youthful smartphone customers to “test in” with friends and family to peer if they are going to want to improve their telephone.

“There are individuals who aren’t assured with generation,” mentioned Essam. “We wish to be sure that everyone seems to be getting the assist that they want, so no one is left at the back of.”

(*17*)3G cellphones on sale at a Vodafone retailer in central London in 2004. {Photograph}: Martin Argles/The Father or mother

A year-long communications marketing campaign contains partnering with organisations together with the Just right Issues Basis, which targets to succeed in virtual inclusion throughout all socio-economic teams, with a press release on a spouse particularly fascinated about older demographics anticipated within the coming weeks.

“With the transfer clear of 3G, other people possibility being disconnected, locked out and left at the back of,” mentioned Helen Milner, team leader government at Just right Issues Basis.

Vodafone, which introduced its 3G community in the United Kingdom in November 2004, mentioned that these days not up to 4% of information utilized by shoppers is carried at the community. As just lately as 2022, the 3G community carried 30% of information.

“3G has attached such a lot of shoppers over the past 17 years, however the long term is 4G and 5G,” mentioned Essam.

Vodafone, which has already switched off 3G networks in Germany and Italy, mentioned that ultimately the switch-off of 3G will receive advantages the surroundings as it’s constructed with what’s now thought to be inefficient apparatus, with 5G networks 10 instances extra environment friendly.

Ultimate summer time, BT become the primary operator to announce it is going to segment out its 3G community in a staged manner with complete switch-off finished through the tip of subsequent yr.

The United Kingdom’s different two main cellular operators, 3 and Virgin Media O2, have no longer introduced any plans to modify off their 3G products and services. 3 UK’s guardian corporate, Hutchison, paid £4.4bn for the United Kingdom’s first 3G licence in 2000 and introduced the primary community in March 2003.