BT switches off last 3G mobile site

BT has announced that it has switched off its last 3G mobile sites.

In a progress update published today, BT’s chief networks officer, Greg McCall, said that the final site in Belfast had been switched off last week, bringing an end to the use of the technology in its EE mobile network after more than 20 years.

It is the last of the more than 18,000 sites to be retired.

The UK’s MNOs are in the process of phasing out their old 3G services, with 2G expected to follow by 2033 at the latest.

EE started moving customers off its 3G network last year, with the final switch-off phase commencing in January 2024, having successfully completed a pilot in Warrington.

Vodafone was expected to have completely switched off its 3G network by the end of January 2024.

Three UK is aiming to switch off its service by the end of 2024, while O2 will begin and complete the switch-off process in 2025.

McCall said, "It was a landmark moment as we continue our work to upgrade Britain’s connectivity infrastructure. But more importantly, it is a significant milestone for communities across the UK who are now embracing the benefits provided by modern mobile technologies like 4G and 5G."

He added, "We have now successfully completed the nationwide closure of our 3G network, resulting in big improvements for both our customers and the environment.

"Those 3G customers who have transitioned to our 4G and 5G networks are now enjoying more reliable and widespread mobile coverage with faster mobile internet speeds, while switching off 3G has already saved enough energy to charge nearly one billion smartphones.

"We will continue to monitor the performance of our other mobile technologies (2G, 4G and 5G) to ensure EE customers continue to get the high-quality connectivity experience they need from the UK’s most reliable mobile network."

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