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UK networks are shutting down 3G starting with Vodafone

A person holding a phone

Technological progress is undoubtedly good and we often want it to hurry up so we can reap the benefits, however, there is a section of society that doesn’t like to rush ahead, such as those with 3G-only mobile phones.

Unfortunately for people with this mindset in the UK, the 3G networks are being turned off this year and next. The most aggressive switch off is coming from Vodafone which has already turned off 3G in some areas and expects the final phase of the switch off to happen this or next month.

EE said that its switch off will commence this month and Three says it will complete its switch off by the end of the year. Virgin Media O2 is more laid back as it won’t begin switching off 3G until 2025.

Going forward, the ideal solution is to upgrade to a 4G or 5G device, however, if you are classified as a vulnerable customer then you may want to contact your network provider to see if there are any options for you.

If you want to switch to O2 and keep your existing 3G phone for an extra year you could do this quite easily by obtaining your PAC code and transferring it over to a new O2 sim card allowing you to keep your phone number, of course, this is just a temporary solution as O2 will pull support too. O2 has a detailed help page for porting your number over from one of the other carriers to its network.

It’s important to understand that your existing SIM card already supports 4G and 5G connectivity but that it’s your mobile phone that doesn’t. Inserting the SIM card in a 4G or 5G device will allow you to continue using your SIM card once 3G goes away.

It’s also possible to buy the old style of phone with 4G support at a low price so things don’t need to be changed drastically. A phone maker to look into is Doro, especially for older customers who want big buttons and text that are easier to read. Nokia also has a range of feature phones with 4G support that you could look into.

While you can follow any of these more “hackish” routes, perhaps it’s also time to recognize that it’s 2023 and that many services are more smartphone-oriented now. It’s understandable that some people may be a bit fearful of new technology, but let’s get real, the first iPhone which really kicked off modern smartphones was unveiled 17 years ago - babies have become adults in that time; perhaps it’s just time to get on the same page as everybody else.

Source: Uswitch

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