News | 10 Mar 2023

Vodafone UK successfully retires 3G in Basingstoke and Plymouth

The shutdown will allow the 3G radio frequencies to be used instead for faster, more efficient 4G and 5G services that can serve many more people.

Vodafone has successfully retired its 3G network in the Basingstoke and Plymouth areas.

Plymouth and Basingstoke are the first locations in the UK where the Vodafone 3G network has been retired and were chosen to start the process following continued network investment. Meanwhile, more than 98% of customers across Basingstoke and Plymouth are already using a 4G or 5G device.

Vodafone will continue switching off its 3G network throughout the remainder of 2023, taking a regional, phased approach. The decision – which all UK mobile network operators have committed to complete by 2033 – will allow Vodafone to repurpose 3G radio frequencies for faster, more efficient 4G and 5G services for a better customer experience. Meanwhile, Vodafone’s 2G network, will remain in place for calls and texts.

Currently less than 4% of the data used on Vodafone’s UK network uses 3G, in comparison to more than 30% in 2016. Vodafone has also already switched off its 3G networks in Germany and Italy, and it will be drawing upon these experiences in the UK.

The 3G switch off in the Plymouth and Basingstoke areas follows a communication campaign across the two regions to ensure customers are aware of the changes. As part of this activity Vodafone has shared information, advice and guidance to help ensure that customers and their loved ones stay connected.

This includes instructions on how to check if a device is 4G capable, how to carry out software upgrades where required, and information on services such as 4G Calling which enables customers to make and receive crystal-clear calls over the 4G network.

3G switch-off is coming: Here's what you need to do

In 2023 Vodafone is retiring 3G in the UK, so it’s time to check your phone – and to check-in on your relatives and neighbours – to see if and how you’ll be affected by the switch-off.

Vodafone has also partnered with a number of charities and other third parties to ensure the campaign reaches vulnerable customers and those needing extra support.

Vodafone’s UK Chief Network Officer, Andrea Dona, said: “3G switch off in Plymouth and Basingstoke is the result of a massive programme of work.  Thanks to the significant investments we’ve made to increase the reach and reliability of our 4G and 5G networks, we are confident we can achieve our aim of retiring 3G this year.

“With data usage levels so low, we can now repurpose the spectrum used by 3G and reach more customers with our energy efficient 4G and 5G networks instead.  This means faster data speeds, higher quality voice calls, and an overall superior customer experience.

“It’s now time to say goodbye to 3G.”

Find out more about Vodafone’s plans or visit your nearest Vodafone store.

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