Three UK has announced that it will be switching off its 3G network at the end of 2024, as the network’s investments in 4G and 5G gather pace.
The announcement represents a significant milestone in UK mobile tech with the target date just over two decades after Three UK launched 3G in the UK .
The ability to switch off its 3G network is enabled by significant investments in 4G and 5G in recent years including the acquisition of the UK’s largest 5G spectrum portfolio.
Turning off 3G will allow the company to focus investments and spectrum resources on further improving 4G customer experience, while rolling out 5G, as it continues to build a Big Network for the UK.
As part of a newly released study by Three UK, ‘Mobile Britain 2022’, the company reported that 5G usage has exceeded 3G already, with the number of 5G devices on Three’s UK’s network quadrupling.
Three predicts that 5G will account for 35 per cent of data usage by the end of 2022.
Currently, Three covers 99 per cent of the UK outdoor population with its combined 3G and 4G network and carries 28 per cent of mobile data traffic in the country.
Commenting on the move, Chief Technology Officer at Three UK David Hennessy said: “3G kick-started the mobile revolution – and launched Three into the UK 20 years ago – but the future is undoubtedly 5G. As we continue to roll out our ultrafast connectivity, by not only upgrading our existing 4G sites but building new 5G sites, we’ll be in a position to switch off our use of 3G across our network by the end of 2024.