Why O2 is closing their 3G network and how it affects UK mobile users

O2, one of the UK’s leading mobile network operators, recently announced their plans to switch off its 3G services in 2025. Whilst stated to be part of their customer enhancement programme, this strategic move follows an agreement between the Government and other mobile network operators to phase 3G out in the UK by 2033.

This industry-wide switch-off programme reflects the evolution of the telecommunications industry and the increasing demand for higher-speed data connections. With O2’s plans to retire its 3G network, the company will be able to focus its efforts towards developing more advanced 4G and 5G technologies, providing customers with faster data speeds and lower latency.

Why is O2 switching off 3G?

With the introduction of the 4G and 5G networks, mobile network operators have relied less upon the 3G network in recent years. This is due to the newer networks being more reliable and energy-efficient, whilst also delivering better results for customers. In fact, O2 has reported that whilst 3G accounts for less than 4% of data traffic, it requires 11% of its total energy consumption. In contrast to this, their 4G and 5G networks operate 10 times more efficiently, accounting for the remaining 96% of data traffic.

By choosing to focus investment on its newer networks, O2 has demonstrated its commitment to remaining at the forefront of mobile technology. The results of this would likely mean an overall better service for customers, including faster download speeds and higher-quality voice calls.

When will O2’s 3G network be switched off?

Whilst we do know that the 3G switch-off won’t begin until 2025, O2 has yet to commit to a specific date for the shutdown. It is likely that they will publish a timeline for the transition and further communication nearer the time. This would provide further information on the transition and details of any action required by customers.

Will this affect the 2G network?

O2 hasn’t announced any immediate plans to turn off the 2G network at present. Despite this, the UK Government has agreed with all mobile network operators that the 2G be switched off by 2033.

What can I do to prepare?

Whilst UK mobile customers aren’t required to take any immediate action, it’s always beneficial for users to be aware of their options. At Gemini, we offer flexible business mobile plans and company phones to suit your business that enable flexible working and remote working. For more details on our Business Mobile offering, visit our website.

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