Our plans to switch off 3G

Everything you need to know

We’re phasing out our 3G network and aim to switch it off by the end of 2024. We’re not alone in doing this – other networks in the UK and abroad are in the process of phasing out their 3G service, too.  

While this is going on, we’re also working on improving our 4G and 5G services, with the goal of providing faster download speeds, better-quality streaming, and a more reliable service for you to enjoy.

We will be phasing out our 3G network in stages, starting in April. Check the first areas to be switched off on our 3G switch off map.

Get ready for our 3G switch-off and check you have a compatible device.  

3G only, and some older 4G devices won’t work when we switch off our 3G network. 

Check our FAQs for more information.  

How to change your device

Pay Monthly customers

If you’re a Pay Monthly customer, give us a call on 0800 033 8031 or visit your local Three store and we can talk through your options.

Out of contract? You can change your device online now.

SIM Only customers  

You can change to a 4G or 5G device even if you’re still within the minimum term of your contract [1].

Have a look at our range of 4G and 5G ready phones online, call us on 0800 033 8031, or visit your local Three store.

Pay As You Go customers

You can change to a 4G or 5G device anytime. Check out our 4G and 5G Ready phones online and visit your local Three store to purchase a device outright.

Business customers  

If you’re a business customer, get in touch with our Business team to find out what’s available.

Mobile Broadband customers  

Want to change your Mobile Broadband device? Take a look at our 4G Mobile Broadband devices and get in touch with us on 0800 033 8031 or visit your local Three store.

What if I need more support?

Accessibility support

At Three, we aim to be inclusive and provide the right level of support for every customer. To find out how we can help and register your accessibility needs you can visit our accessibility hub

My current device is suitable for my accessibility needs, what support is available to me? 

We understand how important your device is to you. So if your phone isn’t 4G calling compatible, have a chat with our Accessibility team. 

To find out how we can help and to register your accessibility needs, visit our accessibility hub at three.co.uk/accessibility. Or get in touch with us at three.co.uk/accessibility/contact-us

What can you expect from the 3G switch-off? 

Better network performance and call quality

By switching off our 3G network, we can re-use the 3G spectrum for our 4G and/or 5G service. That means we can offer higher-quality calls, smoother streaming, quicker downloads, and better overall performance. 

Plus, 4G technology offers better voice quality with better sound and clarity compared with 3G.  And it offers 4G Calling – also known as VoLTE and Enhanced Voice Speech. 

99% UK coverage

Our 4G network covers 99% of the UK population (outdoor coverage). And our 5G coverage is growing every day too.  

Plus, we’ve been awarded UK’s Fastest 5G Network by Ookla [2] for the third year running.  So, if you want super-fast downloads, smooth streaming, and lag-free gaming, make sure you’ve got a 5G ready device.

Emergency Alerts 

Our 4G and 5G networks carry Emergency Alerts – a free service from the UK government. They warn you if there’s a severe danger to life or property nearby. It may send alerts about anything from severe flooding and fires to terror attacks or public health emergencies.

Lower energy consumption

4G and 5G networks are more energy efficient than 3G networks. Mobile devices using a 4G or 5G network will have a longer battery life. And with less need to charge your device, you can enjoy a more convenient experience.

Frequently asked questions

No, we don’t have a 2G network. And like other networks in the UK and abroad, we’re phasing out 3G. We want you to have the best experience on our network, so we’re continuing to invest in our 4G and 5G networks. 

Using an older phone? To stay connected, you’ll need to change to a device that’s 4G Calling or 5G compatible.

On 8 December 2021, the Government announced that all public 2G and 3G networks will be switched off by 2033 at the latest. However, operators have been encouraged to switch off their networks – particularly 3G networks – earlier than that.

We’re phasing out our 3G network and expect to have it completely switched off by the end of 2024. So, if you don't already have one, now’s a good time to swap to a 4G Calling or 5G device.

Got a 3G only data device such as a tablet or Mobile Broadband? You’ll need to change to a 4G or 5G ready device to stay connected to our network.

By the time our 3G switch-off is complete we’ll have enabled 4G in these areas. You can keep up to date with our network improvements using our coverage checker.

Some older 4G devices might not be 4G calling compatible. You can check your device on our device support page. Pick your device, go to Network, then check that 4G Calling (VoLTE UK & Abroad) is ticked. 

If your device is compatible, all you need to do is make sure 4G Calling is switched on in your device settings. 

If it’s not compatible, you’ll still be able to send and receive texts and use 4G data temporarily. But you won’t be able to make or receive calls using 4G. 

When we switch off 3G, calls, texts, and data will only be available when using a 4G Calling – VoLTE device. If your device isn’t compatible, you’ll need to change to one that’s compatible with 4G Calling to continue using our network.  

You don't need to do anything if you have a 4G data-only device, such as a tablet. You can continue using our 4G network as usual. 

After 2024, we won’t be able to support any device that only uses 3G for calls and data. If you don’t change to a 4G or 5G ready device, you won’t be able to connect to our 4G and 5G networks.

We’ll be switching off our 3G network in the UK in stages. Keep checking our 3G switch-off hub or our coverage checker to find out when your local area will be affected.

We’ll also be in touch to let you know when your local area is due to have 3G switched off. So, you can change to a 4G Calling or 5G ready device if you need to.

While deciding what to do, it may be worth asking friends or family if they’ve got a spare 4G Calling device you could use. We also have options available if you’d rather buy your device outright.

Get in touch with us at three.co.uk/support/contact-us to find out more and for information on preparing for our 3G switch-off.  

If you’ve got a 3G data-only Mobile Broadband device, it won’t be supported after 2024. So, we’d recommend that you consider changing your device.

You don't need to do anything if you’ve got a 4G or 5G data-only Home or Mobile Broadband device. You can continue using our 4G and 5G networks as usual.

Pairing your smartwatch with your phone uses 4G connectivity. And 4G Calling is used to make and receive calls on your smartwatch. Our existing 4G network won’t be affected by the 3G switch-off. So, you should be able to continue using your smartwatch without any problems.

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