September 25, 2023

EE Annnounces Its 3G Switch Off Timeline

EE has confirmed that its nationwide 3G switch off will begin in January 2024 and aims to complete it by March.

The operator said that beginning in July this year, it had conducted successful trials in Warrington, Cheshire, where less than 5% of customers use any 3G data.

The shutdown of the 3G network will free up spectrum which can then be used to improve the coverage and speed of 4G and 5G networks.

On EE’s network, 3G makes up just 0.6% of all downloaded UK data, and 7% of all voice traffic, which is a 73% decrease since January 2020.

“3G represents around 35% of our mobile network’s total power consumption – massively outweighing its usage which is falling all the time. Retiring the technology is one of the best steps we can take to reduce our carbon footprint, as modern networks like 4G and 5G are not only faster and more reliable for customers but also up to ten times more efficient,” said Greg McCall, Chief Networks Officer in a statement.
“In fact, we estimate that switching off our 3G network across the UK will save the equivalent amount of energy needed to fully charge up to four billion smartphones, making it better for the planet as well as our customers”.

Under government guidance, all UK mobile operators have committed to phasing out their 2G and 3G networks by 2033 at the latest.

To read more about EE's approach to 3G swtich off retirement read here.

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