Millions of Android and iPhone owners warned of a massive network shutdown starting next month

UK carriers are gearing up to finally pull the plug on 3G next month.

Vodafone will start the phased process in February, starting with Plymouth and Basingstoke.

5G is now the main focus of network operators


5G is now the main focus of network operatorsPhoto credit: Getty

And millions don’t seem to notice the big move at all.

The third generation technology is now 20 years old and most places are covered by 4G instead.

The faster 5G will also be introduced.

However, some Britons believe they still use 3G very heavily in their part of the country.

According to a study by , a quarter of mobile phone users say they regularly use 3G

And one in 14 say they rely on it completely around them.

Network providers are having to ditch 3G to make room for newer, more advanced things.

The government has actually given companies a deadline of 2033 to switch off both 2G and 3G completely.

Of the big four, Vodafone is aiming to phase out all of its UK 3G services by the end of the year.

EE will also phase out the network later this year, shutting it down entirely sometime in early 2024.

Three also plans to close theirs next year.

O2 hasn’t confirmed final details for the 3G shutdown.

Vodafone, EE and Three have indicated that 2G will still act as a safety network for people who may not have access to faster speeds after 3G is gone.

“Although the network speeds offered by 3G are slow by modern standards, people still rely on this older generation network, particularly in rural areas, as their primary means of connectivity,” said Ernest Doku, cellular expert at

“Providers also need to do more to ensure their customers know what their 3G shutdown schedule is and which cities and communities will be affected.

“People still using 3G-enabled smartphones that can’t access the more modern networks will soon need to upgrade their phones or risk losing access to their mobile data altogether.”

Most phones these days support 5G and 4G.

You can still get cheap 3G phones for those who want to keep things simple.

And older devices like the iPhone 4 only work on 3G.

In 2021, EE owner BT estimated that just around 2 per cent of devices using its network were still using 3G – that would be between two and three million.

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So if you are still using a smartphone that only supports 3G, you will soon have to switch to a new mobile phone.

3G was introduced 20 years ago


3G was introduced 20 years agoPhoto credit: Getty

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Fry Electronics Team

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