Mobile technology is far from new, and people have been adopting this mode of communication for personal and business use for many years. The main benefit is the flexibility to work and communicate remotely at any time. Mobile technology has faced increased demand for faster connectivity, clearer voice, and even video with ever-growing video conferencing demands.

However, the UK government has recently confirmed that all 2G and 3G network services will be phased out by the end of 2033. Furthermore, most mobile operators have announced plans to start switching off the networks far ahead of this date.

Firstly, why are these networks being switched off?

Currently, there are four generations of mobile communication networks – 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G. With the 3G network being released back in 2003 and 2G as far back as the 90s, it is no wonder these older generations are being evaluated and discontinued.

These networks have introduced mobile users to newer technologies, granting them access to further connectivity so they can be more connected with other users and services. So, advancing these features will only improve users’ efficiency and fulfill their communication needs.

Each generation of mobile connectivity takes up space on the radio spectrum, which is finite. By switching off older networks such as 2G and 3G, it allows mobile network operators to reuse their capacity for the more advanced generations. Phasing out outdated networks means future services can be strengthened.

How will this affect users?

If you’re using an existing device that runs 4G/5G, the switch-off will have very little impact on you. This means you can continue to use your device as usual with no interruptions or communication difficulties.

The 3G network will be replaced by the newer generations, meaning users will experience faster and more reliable connectivity. The only challenge users might face during this transition is an increase in 4G traffic, leading to congestion at peak times. However, this isn’t expected to impact the user experience for long.

If your device is not 5G or 4G compatible, you will no longer be able to access any data services, so you will need to upgrade. On EE, Vodafone, and O2 networks, you will still be able to make calls, and send and receive text messages until the 2G network is switched off at a later date. On Three, however, no 2G network is available; after 2024 you will need to upgrade to use any of these functions.

The Switch-Off timeline

The switch-off announcement revealed that the 2G and 3G networks are set to be fully switched off by 2033. However, individual mobile providers have already set their wheels in motion and have planned to bring that date forward. This means people and businesses need to start thinking about how this will affect them and how to avoid disruption.

Although subject to change, these are the current individual switch-off schedules:

Vodafone: 3G switch-off will start in February, with the entire 3G network being switched off by December. They currently have no plans to switch off 2G before the agreed 2033 deadline.

EE: 3G switch-off starts in early 2024, with plans to switch off 2G later in the decade.

Three: will switch off 3G by the end of 2024 (no 2G network).

O2: no switch-off plans announced yet.

How can SCG help you avoid any challenges?

When working with SCG, you don’t have to worry about changes to communications technology. We will be contacting all of our customers who will be affected by the upcoming switch-off, to discuss their available options and ensure they still have the right mobile technology to support their business needs.

We have full visibility of any new developments in the telecoms industry, and the ability to advise our customers on how best to navigate them. This is down to over 50 years of experience and our unique position in the market; these are the advantages of using SCG as a service provider.

Be More Secure in the knowledge that using SCG means that whatever happens, we will find the most efficient method to connect you to your customers, prospects, and staff in the ways that you need to. If you have any questions about the 2G/3G switch-off in the meantime or would like to discuss our business mobile solutions, please do not hesitate to get in touch – call us on 0800 090 1965 or email