Vodafone UK eyeing 3G switch-off in ‘two to three years’

11 Jun 2019

British mobile network operator (MNO) Vodafone UK is reportedly likely to switch off its 3G network within the next three years, according to comments made by its head of UK mobile networks, Andrea Dona, to Pocket-lint.

Ahead of the cellco’s launch of 5G – which is scheduled to take place on 3 July – Dona was cited as saying: ‘In the medium term, we will be switching off 3G, because the use of the 3G band and what we get in return is not that efficient so we can use some of the 3G spectrum bands for 5G. Then we don’t have to waste higher frequency, like the US are using the millimetre wave (mmWave) … we can use the low band which is more efficient.’ While there are no specific timings for the network shutdown yet, the executive did add: ‘We don’t have a date. We’re working on a plan, next two to three years.’ However, Dona noted that there would be a number of prerequisites to Vodafone UK switching off its 3G network, the most notable being the migration of customers from voice over 3G to VoLTE.

Meanwhile, with regards to the future of the operator’s 2G infrastructure, Dona said: ‘2G is an interesting one … 2G will have a longer lifetime, a longer role to play, especially when it comes to the Internet of Things [like smart meters, for example] where you actually don’t need speed, you don’t need the capacity, you just need it to be ticking away in the background with low power … it doesn’t make economic sense to go out and change these devices.’

United Kingdom, Vodafone UK