British mobile network operator (MNO) Vodafone UK has announced plans to start retiring its 3G infrastructure next year. In a press release regarding the matter, the cellco said work on retiring its older network will be undertaken ‘as part of a network modernisation programme to improve the 4G and 5G experience for all customers’.
According to Vodafone UK, the decision to shut down its 3G infrastructure after 17 years and ‘nearly 500 billion minutes of calls’ comes as it confirms less than 4% of the data used on its network travels on 3G – compared to more than 30% in 2016. Further, the decommissioning of Vodafone UK’s 3G network is said to also be an important part of the strategy to reach Net Zero by 2027, with the MNO claiming that modern 5G networks are more than ten times as energy efficient as old 3G equipment. With a view to minimising the impact of its plans on consumers, the cellco has said it has begun a year-long communication campaign with immediate effect, with this aiming to share information, advice and guidance to customers to ensure they can stay connected during the change next year.
Commenting on the matter, Vodafone UK CEO Ahmed Essam said: ‘We’re building the UK’s most reliable mobile network, and focusing on the technologies that best connect our customers and have the least impact on the environment. 3G has connected so many customers over the last 17 years, but the future is 4G and 5G … We’re going to be focused on giving customers a faster and more reliable mobile experience, and minimising our impact on the environment by taking away a layer of our network that uses inefficient equipment.’