BT confirms UK 3G switch off is coming soon

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BT has confirmed plans to completely shut down its UK 3G mobile network by March 2024.

A report published on The Register confirmed the company's EE’s mobile division will start a nationwide 3G termination in January 2024, with the deadline for the project being March of the same year. The process is part of the telco’s modernization effort, in which it will focus more on 4G and 5G networks, instead.

BT already trialed the shutdown in Warrington in northwest England, and claims to have gotten no complaints from its customers. Despite the seemingly seamless transition, the company will still take it slow with the shutdown, to make sure no one is left behind.

Helping the vulnerable

That being said, BT will offer vulnerable customers a free 4G-ready mobile phone, or a discount on a monthly plan, should they choose to keep their own device. Furthermore, the company prepared a 3G factsheet, available on this link, to help users understand what the transition means for them and how they can make sure they still receive mobile internet services following the shutdown.

The factsheet was drafted together with AbilityNet, a charity that helps vulnerable people access technology, it was said. Apparently, by the end of 2023, 4,000 people will have received the charity’s training, all over the UK.

Other telecommunications service providers in the UK are also moving along with their plans to phase out 3G. Last year, Vodafone announced plans to switch 3G off in early 2024. O2, on the other hand, plans to turn the service off in 2025. As agreed with the UK government, all operators in the country should phase out 3G by 2033 at the latest. 

5G promises multiple benefits, from higher speeds and more bandwidth to fostering innovation and reducing pollution.

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Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.