3G Switch Off
The government has agreed with the UK mobile network operators that 2033 will be the date by which all
public 2G and 3G networks in the UK will be switched off.
Earlier this year, Vodafone announced that their 3G retirement would take place in 2023, with a
commitment to deliver the most reliable network and keep customers connected.
What does it mean?
Vodafone will begin retiring its 3G network in 2023 as part of the network modernisation programme to
improve the 4G and 5G experience for all customers.
The programme, which will see 3G coverage gradually phased out and replaced by strengthened 4G
and 5G services, will mean customers across more parts of the UK can access more reliable connectivity
through the Vodafone network.
Vodafone already has a customer communication plan underway to ensure customers stay connected.
Why is this happening?
As announced by the government in December 2021, all UK networks have committed to retiring both
3G and 2G by 2033. Everyone will be re-farming their 2G and 3G bandwidth in the coming years, but
Vodafone believes now is the right time for this.
4G and 5G are up to 10x faster than 3G; they also have lower latency, use modern encryption, and support
multitasking. 87.9% have 4G enabled on Voice Plans and 99.8% on Data Only Plans.
In addition, Vodafone accelerated the move of 3G voice and data to 4G in 2021, reducing 3G voice usage
by 40% – with more to come in 2022. 81.4% of all voice connections already have VoLTE enabled. 3G
usage has moved from 41.3% to 77.5% to 4G in a year.
Vodafone’s key focus areas in 2022
To ensure there is enough 4G & 5G network capacity and optimisation to manage the additional traffic
created by removing 3G.
End User Device Settings
Vodafone will run SMS campaigns to users encouraging customers with 4G devices that aren’t using
4G / WiFi Calling to update their device settings.