Government announces plans to phase out 2G and 3G mobile services by 2033

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December 8, 2021
The UK will phase out 2G and 3G mobile services by 2033 under plans to help bring in new telecoms suppliers to build the UK’s 5G networks, the government has announced.

Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “5G technology is already revolutionising people’s lives and businesses – connecting people across the UK with faster mobile data and making businesses more productive.

“Today we are announcing a further £50 million to put the UK at the forefront of mobile connectivity and to make sure our telecoms networks are safe and secure now and in the future.”

It is said the funding will boost boost innovation and accelerate the rollout of a new wireless communication technology known as Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN), which enables mobile networks to be built using a variety of different equipment suppliers.

Open networks can feature components from multiple suppliers within one mast site or allow for components to be exchanged or used as replacements at masts that, until now, have been kitted out by a single supplier.

This announcement follows the recent introduction of the Telecommunications Security Act and forms part of the government’s £250 million strategy to build a more competitive, innovative and diverse supply chain for telecoms, to reduce the world’s over-reliance on a few equipment makers.

The government has agreed with Vodafone, EE, Virgin Media O2 and Three that 2033 will be the date by which all public 2G and 3G networks in the UK will be switched off.

It is hoped the plans will free up spectrum – the radio waves used for sending and receiving information – to allow for the mass rollout of 5G and other future networks such as 6G which will help create huge possibilities for people’s lives.

These technologies could help power driverless vehicles and drones, immersive virtual and augmented reality experiences, as well as innovations in tech to achieve Net Zero and improve healthcare.

Jim Clapham

Commenting on the announcement, director of Lister Unified Communications, Jim Clapham said: “Now in our 20th year of business, we have seen the benefits emerging technology has always given to our customers and 5G is game changer for essential data speeds.

“We are always wary, however, that rural areas are not left behind or with “Not spots” and hope they will a complete solution for all areas before they switch off.”

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