Vodafone begins 3G switch-off as Ofcom sets MNO expectations

Vodafone has become the first major mobile network operator to begin to switch-off its 3G network within the UK.

The mobile operator has announced it will start by switching off its 3G network in the Plymouth and Basingstoke areas at the same time as regulator Ofcom set out what it expects from mobile providers when they switch off their 2G and 3G networks.

The switch-off will happen over the next ten years and support the roll-out of 4G and 5G networks. MNOs will set their own timeline for turning off 3G connections with EE and Three following Vodafone’s lead by announcing they will aim to switch users off the network by the end of 2024.

As the signal is turned off, phone users will be automatically switched to 2G, which is being kept online as a backup - so users without a strong 4G or 5G connection will still be able to send texts and make calls but no longer be able to browse websites, send emails or stream music.

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