Three will shut down its 3G network by the end of 2024

British telecommunications company Three has announced that it will retire its 3G network by the end of 2024 after two decades of service.

Disabling 3G “frees up resources” to allow three people to focus on improving their customers’ 4G experience and implementing 5G, the company said in a statement.

But the decision means three customers with older phones that don’t support 4G or 5G, like the i phone 5 or older – will need to purchase a new device.

Tre launched on 3 March 2003 (03/03/03) as the UK’s first 3G-only network, although it has since rolled out 4G and 5G networks.

5G is significantly faster than previous generations of mobile connectivity and is capable of delivering larger amounts of data faster.

Tre said it will shut down its 3G network by the end of 2024 as investment and customer usage will shift to 4G and 5G (archive photo)

Tre said it will shut down its 3G network by the end of 2024 as investment and customer usage will shift to 4G and 5G (archive photo)


5G is the fifth generation of cellular technology. It is designed to increase speed, reduce latency, and improve the flexibility of wireless services.

5G technology has a theoretical peak speed of 20 Gbps, while the peak speed of 4G is only 1 Gbps.

5G also promises lower latency, which can improve the performance of business applications and other digital experiences (such as online gaming, video conferencing, and self-driving cars).

Source: Cisco

Three said they expect the trend of customers using 3G-only phones to continue to decline as faster 4G and 5G devices are brought to market.

The telecom company said it is spending £ 2 billion on network upgrades for its ongoing 5G rollout.

“3G started the mobile revolution and launched Three in the UK 20 years ago, but the future is undoubtedly 5G,” said David Hennessy, Chief Technology Officer of Three UK.

“As we continue to roll out our ultra-fast connectivity, not just by upgrading our existing 4G sites but by building new 5G sites, we will be able to disable the use of 3G on our network by the end of 2024.”

Three’s announcement follows the same decision by EE, which in July 2021 said it would phase out its 3G network within two years.

Vodafone also wants to retire its 17-year-old 3G network next year announced in January. However, Vodafone customers will have the option to continue using its 2G network (three customers no, simply because the company doesn’t have one).

Vodafone retains 2G because it is a “truly universal technology,” according to a Vodafone spokesperson, although the telecom companies have agreed with the UK government to phase out 2G by 2033.

The only one of the British “big four” telecoms companies that has not yet announced the retirement of 3G is now O2.

Meanwhile, in the US, telecom companies, including AT&T and Verizon, are planning to phase out 3G this year.

Disabling 3G networks means that many people with older phones will no longer be able to use them and will need to upgrade to modern devices


– iPhone 5 and earlier

– Samsung Galaxy S4 and earlier

If you are unsure whether your previous phone model is 3G, contact your service provider.

Tre has yet to reveal the exact date its 3G network will be shut down, which could arrive before December 31, 2024.

As the date approaches, Three said it will “work with its customers” who have an older 3G-only device to make sure they stay connected.

Currently, three cover 99% of the UK’s outdoor population with its combined 3G and 4G network and carry 28% of the country’s mobile data traffic.

Three’s 5G network, launched in August 2019, now covers more than a third of the UK population.

The demand for more data continues to rise and jumped to 19GB per month per customer in December, a 20% increase from the previous year, so you need to continue investing in new technologies, including 5G.

The fifth generation wireless standard offers faster connectivity and higher bandwidth, which means faster download speeds for internet users and greater capacity and connectivity for billions of devices.

The recently released “Mobile Britain 2022” report by three also found that 5G phone usage nearly quadrupled in 2021.

The telecom company expects 5G to account for 35% of data usage by the end of this year.

The company said it is continuing to roll out 5G “through 2022 and beyond”. In February, it 5G launched at Chelsea FC’s home stadium, Stamford Bridge, as part of his role as the club’s main sponsor.

The following month, three suspended the £ 40 million a year partnership following British government sanctions against Russian club owner Roman Abramovich (who is now in the process of selling the club) due to the war in Ukraine.

Three have asked Chelsea to remove their branding “from their shirts and stadium until further notice”, which the club has so far refused to do; Chelsea teams continue to wear the Three’s logo on their shirts for every game.


The evolution of the G system began in 1980 with the invention of the cellular telephone which allowed the transmission of analog data through telephone calls.

Digital came into play in 1991 with 2G and SMS and MMS capabilities were launched.

Since then, the capacities and transport capacity of the mobile network have increased enormously.

More data can be transferred from one point to another via the mobile network faster than ever.

5G is expected to be 100 times faster than currently used 4G.

While the shift from 3G to 4G has been particularly beneficial for browsing and working on mobile devices, the shift to 5G will be so fast that it becomes near real time.

This means mobile operations will be as fast as internet connections in the office.

Potential uses for 5g include:

  • Simultaneous translation of multiple languages ​​in a party conference call
  • Self-driving cars can stream movies, music and navigation information from the cloud
  • A full 8GB movie can be downloaded in six seconds.

5G should be so fast and efficient that it is possible that the end of wired connections could begin.

By the end of 2020, industry estimates say 50 billion devices will be connected to 5G.

The evolution from 1G to 5G. Expected speed of 5G is over 1 Gbps - 1,000 times faster than existing 4G speed and could be implemented in laptops of the future

The evolution from 1G to 5G. Expected speed of 5G is over 1 Gbps – 1,000 times faster than existing 4G speed and could be implemented in laptops of the future