We're switching off 3G
Help and support
3G Switch off | Network Coverage | Help | O2
As part of a customer enhancement programme, we’ll be switching off 3G services in 2025. This follows an agreement with Government and other mobile network operators in 2021, that 3G would be switched off in the UK by 2033 at the latest. It'll allow us to focus on upgrading to faster, more reliable and more energy-efficient 4G and 5G networks to improve services for you.
Why are you switching off 3G?
3G has been superseded by 4G and 5G networks over recent years, with the 3G network carrying less and less traffic. By focusing investment on our 4G and 5G networks, we’ll be able to further expand and upgrade services so you can benefit from quicker download speeds and higher quality voice calls.
The programme will also contribute to our ambitious sustainability goals, due to 4G and 5G being significantly more energy-efficient compared to 3G. While 3G accounts for less than 4% of data used on our network, it accounts for 11% of our total energy consumption. 4G and 5G, which account for 96% of mobile network data traffic, are 10 times more efficient
The other UK network operators have all announced plans to switch off 3G and some have already started their 3G switch off programmes. We’re now announcing that we’ll switch off 3G in 2025. This is also happening in other countries across the world – for example, 3G has already been switched off in the US.
When will I be affected?
The 3G switch off won’t begin until 2025 so nothing will change for you right now. We’ll get in touch closer to the switch off date in 2025, give you more information and let you know about any action you may need to take.
How will this impact me?
For most of our customers who already have access to our 4G and 5G services, you won’t need to take any action. For the small number of customers who don’t have a 4G or 5G-ready phone, you’ll still be able to make calls and texts as you do now. However, if you want to continue benefiting from mobile data connectivity after 3G is switched off, you’ll need to upgrade to a 4G or 5G-ready device.
Our priority is to keep all customers connected. We’ll get in touch with impacted customers closer to the switch off date in 2025.
- I have a 3G device, but I don’t want an expensive device, what can I do?
Don’t worry, there’s no immediate impact just yet and you don’t need to take any action now. We will be contacting you closer to the switch off date in 2025.
- I need extra support, what’s available to me?
The 3G switch off won’t begin until 2025, so nothing will change for you yet. Our priority is to keep all customers connected and we’ll get in touch with impacted customers closer to the switch off date in 2025.
If you find it difficult to access any of our services due to a disability or personal situation, we can make adjustments to help you manage your account.
Get more support:
If you’re an O2 customer, head to our access for all page
If you’re a Virgin Media customer, visit our accessibility page
- I live in a rural location, how will this affect me?
Providing seamless connectivity for all our customers, wherever they live, is our priority, and we’ve been working to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural communities over recent years.
For example, the Shared Rural Network (SRN) is a joint initiative between mobile network operators and the UK government to deliver reliable 4G coverage to rural parts of the UK – with the aim of reaching 95% of the UK. We’ve already boosted 4G in numerous locations across the UK as part of our commitment to the SRN, and this will continue in the months and years ahead.
- I’m a giffgaff, Tesco or Sky Mobile customer – will I be affected by this as well?
Yes, as these mobile providers use our network. Your provider will communicate with you closer to the switch off date in 2025.
- Will shutting down 3G affect my ability to contact the emergency services?
No. Emergency services are a critical aspect of telecommunications infrastructure, and all network operators take necessary measures to ensure their continuity.
- Will 2G be switched off as well?
There are no immediate plans to switch off 2G. In the longer term, all mobile network operators have agreed with the UK government to switch off 2G by 2033.
- I’m a business customer, how does this impact me?
Please take a look at our dedicated business page for further information.