News

Our 3G switch off has begun.

  • 7 February 2023
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What’s happening?

 

Three, iD Mobile’s network partner, has announced it’s phasing out its 3G network and will be switching it off by the end of 2024. At the same time, they’ll continue to invest in rolling out 4G and 5G, meaning more people in more places will be able to take advantage of being on the UK’s Fastest 5G Network, as awarded by Ookla™.

 

In total, Three are investing £2 billion into the network, and it’ll help deliver far better connectivity, whether you’re streaming, gaming, browsing or video calling. Our goal is lightning-fast speed and excellent reliability - to bring you the best mobile experience possible!

 

What does this mean for me?

 

If you have a 3G only phone, you’ll be unable to use data, make calls or send text messages on our network once 3G in your area is switched off. 

 

If you have a 4G Calling (VoLTE) phone, but 4G is disabled within your phone settings, you’ll till be able to send texts and use your data, but you won’t be able to make calls.

 

Just so you know, some selected countries are also switching off their 3G networks, so you’ll need a 4G compatible phone to make and receive calls, or use data services. Find out if your phone is 4G Calling compatible.

 

What should I do if my phone is not compatible?

 

If your phone is not compatible, we recommend upgrading to a phone that supports 4G calling (VoLTE). All phones currently ranged on the iD Mobile website are compatible with 4G calling. Find out how to upgrade your phone online.

 

What is 4G calling (VoLTE)?

 

4G calling (or VoLTE) is a free iD service that lets you call over our 4G network. Indoor blackspots can stop you from getting connected. But with 4G calling, that's not a problem. It gives you clearer calls in more places than ever before. You can find out if your phone is compatible here. If you’ve got a compatible device, find out how to use 4G Calling here

 

What is the network coverage like in my area?

 

You can see whether 4G or 5G coverage is available in your area using our handy network coverage checker.

 

When will the 3G network be switched off?

 

The switch off will be starting in April 2024, with the areas outlined in the map below.

 

 

3G masts will be switched off starting in the Midlands area of the UK and some Welsh border towns. There may also be isolated changes to 3G in other areas.

We’re reaching out to all customers who are using 3G or 4G (non-VoLTE) compatible phones to let them know when the 3G services will be switched off in their area.

 

SMS access to emergency organisations

 

If you need emergency assistance in the UK you can send an SMS to 999. The text will then be converted and passed to the appropriate emergency service.

 

Your phone will need to be registered to the service beforehand. To do this, simply text the word 'register' to 999. You should then receive a confirmation by SMS, telling you a little more about the service. For more details, visit www.emergencysms.org.uk

 

Please be aware that this service may not always be available. So until you get a reply to your emergency message, you should try using other ways to contact the emergency services such as dialling 18000 on a textphone, or asking someone to dial 999 for you.

 

And don't forget that this service only works in the UK. So if you're abroad you'll need to try other ways of contacting the local emergency services. If you're in Europe, the number to call will be 112. 

 

Please note: The UK Emergency Video Relay Service supports people who are deaf, or those who have hearing loss. It allows them to make a video call to the emergency services. Find out more here. 

 

After the 3G service is switched off, you can still make emergency calls as usual with a 4G-compatible phone. If your phone isn't 4G-compatible, it will automatically connect to another available network that provides 2G service for the call. However, this doesn't apply to emergency SMS, which can be extremely helpful for customers who are unable to use emergency calling. To continue using emergency SMS, you'll need to upgrade to a 4G-capable phone.

 

FAQs

 

Why are Three switching off their 3G network?

In December 2021, the UK government announced 2G and 3G will be phased out by 2033. By switching off these networks, Three can focus funds and resources on new, more efficient 4G/5G tech. And that’ll benefit you even more.

Three are not the only network turning off 3G; other networks in the UK and abroad are phasing out their 3G networks too.

 

When will the 3G switch-off happen?

3G will be phased out slowly, starting in early 2023. We expect it to be switched off by the end of 2024.

 

I have a 3G device – what should I do?

Your 3G phone will not be able to make calls, send messages or use data services once 3G in your area is turned off. It’s a great time to upgrade to a compatible 4G or 5G device. Find out more about upgrading.

 

My current phone suits my accessibility needs – do I have to change it?

We know it’s important having a phone that does exactly what you need it to. But if the phone you’re using isn’t 4G calling compatible, you won’t be able to use it on our network after 3G is switched off.

 

We’re here to help with any problems or questions about your phone. You can chat with us about your options.

 

Support for vulnerable customers

 

If you're a vulnerable customer and need further assistance, please refer to our vulnerable customer policy to learn more about the support and services we offer.


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