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Three to switch off the UK’s first 3G network in 2024

Megan Robinson
May 11, 2022

Announcement comes as 5G usage has increased by over 358 per cent on Three’s network in the last year

Three UK has announced it will switch off the UK’s first 3G network by the end of 2024 as it further invests in 4G and 5G.

The move will allow the network to focus on improving 4G and rolling out 5G which is a £2bn commitment to the UK.

The target date for the 3G switch off arrives just over two decades after Three launched 3G in the UK on March 3 2003 (03-03-03). 

Three UK’s ‘Mobile Britain 2022’ study revealed that 5G usage has already exceeded 3G as the number of 5G devices on its network has quadrupled- and is expected to rise. 

3G handsets are predicted to decline as faster 4G and 5G handsets are introduced, and there is a greater need for faster, newer technologies as demand for data has increased 20 per cent year-on-year.

Three UK chief technology officer David Hennessy said: “3G kick-started the mobile revolution – and launched Three into the UK 20 years ago – but the future is undoubtedly 5G. 

“As we continue to roll out our ultrafast connectivity, by not only upgrading our existing 4G sites but building new 5G sites, we’ll be in a position to switch off our use of 3G across our network by the end of 2024.

“As the leader in 5G deployment and the fastest network as rated by Ookla®, we are focused on delivering our goal of providing better connectivity, every day, for every customer.”

As the date of 3G switch off approaches, customers with an older 3G-only device or non VoLTE voice device will be supported by Three to ensure they stay connected.


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