Vodafone UK to Continue with 3G Switch-Off

Vodafone UK to Continue with 3G Switch-Off

Vodafone UK announced it will advance with the plan to phase out 3G next month. The decision follows successful pilots in two areas. The move is aimed at strengthening 4G and 5G coverage.

The company switched off 3G in Plymouth and Basingstoke in February, with plans to extend the shutdown to Hull, Oxford, and Greater London in June. It will then target the south of the country later in the year. Customers will still be able to use its 2G connectivity for calls and texts as the network currently covers 99% of the UK population.

Andrea Dona, Vodafone UK's chief network officer, said the use of 3G has dropped significantly as most of its customers have moved on to 4G. He added that less than 4% of data is used on Vodafone’s 3G network in comparison to more than 30% in 2016. Retiring 3G in the UK means the operator can focus on strengthening and improving 4G and 5G coverage.

Vodafone claimed the 3G phase-out also forms part of its wider strategy to reach net zero for its UK operation by 2027, stating 5G is more energy-efficient. Additionally, the company also activated campaigns around digital skills to ensure customers are well prepared for its national 3G shutdown. Earlier this year, telecoms regulator Ofcom issued a 20-page guide for UK operators to phase out their 2G and 3G networks.