Millions of smartphones to stop working next month as 3G switch off begins

If you're the owner of a 3G smartphone or tablet, it might be time to upgrade.

Mobile phone networks across the UK are beginning their big 3G switch-off, meaning anyone without a 4G or 5G-ready device will lose connectivity.

According to, over half (51%) of mobile users aren't aware that mobile providers like Vodafone are about to stop offering 3G coverage.

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This is despite more than 30 million Brits relying on 3G networks for their daily connectivity.

Residents in Newcastle and Sheffield could be the worst hit, as they are reportedly the most likely to connect to 3G services.

Vodafone customers in Plymouth and Basingstoke meanwhile will be the first to lose 3G connectivity, as this is where the mobile phone giant will begin decommissioning its 3G network in February.

Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at, said: "It is clear that millions of mobile phone users aren’t aware that 3G is being phased out, or how this will impact their ability to get online – especially with sluggish 2G serving as the only fallback in a number of cases."

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He added: "The good news for the majority of mobile users who have upgraded to a 4G or 5G enabled device and plan – you are unlikely to be impacted by this change, although you may still need a quick software update to stay connected."

The UK government has set a deadline of 2033 for 2G and 3G networks to be shut off completely, in favour of the faster 4G and 5G signals.

However, Vodafone, EE and Three have all sought to reassure customers that their 2G networks will remain in place as a safety net for those who lose access to faster 3G speeds following the switch-off.


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