The US says goodbye to 3G, is the UK next?

In the early 1980’s 3G technology was first developed, giving users the ability to roam the internet wirelessly and from wherever, at speeds much quicker than ever before. This technology was not adopted by most mobile users until around 2007, but its use since then has been widespread and there are very few mobile users who have not used 3G in the past decade.

Today 3G has been superseded by the 4G and now 5G networks, leaving the 3G network outdated and slow. In the US, the 5G rollout has been much more rapid than in the UK, meaning that their leading mobile network providers, T Mobile, Verizon, O2 and AT&T, have all almost concluded the switch off of their 3G networks. In fact, most will be finished by the end of this year (2022).

What does this mean if you are travelling to the US?

It is strongly recommended that if you are planning a trip to the US, and you have a mobile device, ensure that it is compatible with 4G or 5G, and that this is enabled. Failure to do so could cause disruption to your service. O2’s 3G switch off in the US is still on going, so you may still have access to this network, although it is not guaranteed. It is important to remember that if your phone is only compatible with 3G (most phones released in 2016 or before), your calling services will be affected, this could mean that you will no longer have the ability to make any digital calls in the US including to the emergency services!

What about the UK’s 3G network?

The 3G network is still currently operational in the UK. However, all UK network providers have committed to closing their 3G networks in order to focus on and improve their 4G and 5G networks.

Vodafone has announced that by 2023 3G will no longer be available, Three have a deadline set for the end of 2024, and EE have announced that their customers are set to begin being phased off of 3G networks in 2023.

O2 is the only network not to impose their own switch off deadline, however by 2033 all 3G networks will cease to exist.

It is important that both business and personal mobile customers act now if they believe their services could be affected by the 3G network shut down. If you or your team use the iPhone 8 or the Samsung Galaxy S8 or below, we would advise you to contact your service provider to find out how you can ensure you can continue to use your mobile device wherever you are in the world!

For more information about this you can call us on 0800 093 3000 or click here to learn more about our mobile options.

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