As technology continues to evolve, networks must also adapt and modernise in order to provide the best possible service. That’s why Vodafone has announced that they will begin retiring their 3G network in 2023, as part of a 5-year plan to improve connectivity and offer strengthened 4G and 5G experiences for all users.
There are several reasons for this decision. Firstly, 3G technology is now almost 20 years old, and Vodafone wants to focus their efforts on improving and expanding their newer 4G and 5G networks. The 3G network currently only carries around 4% of data traversed across Vodafone’s infrastructure, compared to over 30% in 2016. In contrast, 4G and 5G offer faster speeds and more reliable connectivity, making them a better choice for modern users who rely on their data for both personal and business use.
Another reason for the 3G switch-off is the need to repurpose the spectrum band that carries 3G traffic. The 900 MHz spectrum band is extremely useful as it allows signal to travel long distances and provides good indoor coverage. By repurposing this spectrum for 4G and 5G traffic, Vodafone can offer users even more coverage and reliability.
Finally, the retirement of Vodafone’s 3G network is part of the company’s strategy to reach net zero by 2027. Modern 5G networks are more energy efficient than older 3G equipment, so by phasing out 3G, Vodafone can reduce its carbon footprint and have a positive impact on the environment.
Overall, the decision to phase out 3G is about providing Vodafone users with the best possible connectivity and ensuring that the company is prepared for the future. While 3G has served Vodafone well for the past 17 years, the future is in 4G and 5G, and Vodafone has committed to giving their users a faster and more reliable data experience.