Smart Living | Everything you need to know

3G switch-off: The mobile speeds you really need to get online

If you’re not sure how fast your mobile internet speeds are, or what speeds you need to get online, we’ve got the answers.

Mobile data speeds can seem like a confusing jumble of numbers and letters. If you’re not sure how to measure your mobile internet speeds, and whether the speeds you’re getting are fast enough for you and your needs, then here’s what you need to know.

How do I measure my mobile internet speeds?

To measure the speed of your smartphone’s internet connection, head to the internet speed test page on the Vodafone UK website.

Download and upload speeds (for receiving and sending data respectively) are measured in megabits per second (Mbps).

screenshot of Vodafone UK mobile internet speed test results on an Android smartphone

The higher the Mbps figures, the faster your speeds. The faster your speeds, the more seamless your online experiences will be.

How fast is fast enough for what I want to do?

Many common online activities can be accomplished on relatively low speeds. Others will need higher speeds.

2Mbps is fast enough for

  • Streaming or downloading music;
  • sending and receiving text in messages and emails;
  • web browsing.

10Mbps is fast enough for

All of the above, as well as:

  • Video chats;
  • sending and receiving photos and videos;
  • streaming or downloading video in HD quality;
  • playing most single-player online games.

50Mbps is fast enough for

All of the above, as well as

  • Streaming or downloading video in 4K quality;
  • livestreaming video of yourself or your surroundings;
  • playing most multiplayer online games;
  • playing games using cloud gaming services;
  • uploading multiple files to cloud storage services.

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.

What level of mobile internet performance can I expect in my area?

To get a general idea of which mobile data services are available in your area (2G, 4G and 5G), use Vodafone’s Network Status checker.

The exact speeds you’ll get depends on numerous factors such as the distance between you and the nearest mast, whether there are any trees or buildings in the way, whether you’re indoors or not and how many other people are connected to the mast, to name just a few.

I’ve heard Vodafone is switching off 3G in the UK. Will I be left without a mobile data connection in my area?

Vodafone has announced that it is gradually retiring its 3G network over the course of 2023, replacing it with strengthened 4G or 5G services.

Although most people won’t be affected, Vodafone has resources to help you if you’re worried, such as the Digital Skills Helpline.

Andrea Dona: 'Now is the time to switch off 3G'

Andrea Dona, Vodafone's UK Chief Network Officer, explains why the company is switching off its 3G network and what this means for customers.

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