Vodafone to switch off 3G mobile network in 2023
Vodafone today announced that it will begin retiring its 3G network in 2023 as part of a ‘network modernisation programme to improve 4G and 5G experience for all customers’.
The programme, which will see 3G coverage gradually phased out and replaced by 4G and 5G services, will mean customers across more parts of the UK can access more reliable connectivity via the Vodafone network, claims the company.
Retiring 3G, after 17 years and nearly 500 billion minutes of calls, is a key part of Vodafone’s strategy to give customers the most reliable network experience. Today, less than 4% of the data used on Vodafone’s network travels on 3G, in comparison to more than 30% in 2016.
Vodafone will begin a campaign of communication to customers today, and will continue to share information, advice and guidance to customers to ensure they can stay connected during the change next year.
Says Vodafone CEO Ahmed Essam:
“We’re building the UK’s most reliable mobile network, and focusing on the technologies that best connect our customers and have the least impact on the environment. 3G has connected so many customers over the last 17 years, but the future is 4G and 5G. We’re going to be focused on giving customers a faster and more reliable mobile experience, and minimising our impact on the environment by taking away a layer of our network that uses inefficient equipment.”
Vodafone claims the retirement of its 3G network is also an important part of the strategy to reach Net Zero by 2027, with modern 5G networks more than ten times as energy-efficient as old 3G equipment.
As part of the 3G switch off, Vodafone is also partnering with The Good Things Foundation, and other third parties, to ensure the campaign reaches the most vulnerable consumers.
Says Helen Milner OBE, Group Chief Executive at Good Things Foundation:
“We support Vodafone with this important campaign to ensure that every consumer can stay connected during the change. Access to a digital connection is vital, especially for the most vulnerable people in our society. With the move away from 3G, people risk being disconnected, locked out and left behind. That’s why we’re so pleased to be working with Vodafone to ensure as many people as possible continue to have the essential digital access they need.”