Closing the curtain on 3G


by Greg McCall, Chief Networks Officer

Belfast cemented itself as part of BT Group’s rich history last week as the location where we switched off our final 3G mobile site, bringing an end to the use of the technology in our EE mobile network after more than 20 years.

It was a landmark moment as we continue our work to upgrade Britain’s connectivity infrastructure. But more importantly, it is a significant milestone for communities across the UK who are now embracing the benefits provided by modern mobile technologies like 4G and 5G.

Having spent 2023 phasing out customer reliance on 3G and completing a detailed pilot switch off in Warrington, we were able to confidently start the nationwide 3G switch off as planned in early January.

Since then, we have been responsibly and methodically retiring the technology across more than 18,000 mobile sites, with dedicated pauses built into the process so we could closely monitor each region in real-time.

We have now successfully completed the nationwide closure of our 3G network, resulting in big improvements for both our customers and the environment.

Those 3G customers who have transitioned to our 4G and 5G networks are now enjoying more reliable and widespread mobile coverage with faster mobile internet speeds, while switching off 3G has already saved enough energy to charge nearly one billion smartphones.

We will continue to monitor the performance of our other mobile technologies (2G, 4G and 5G) to ensure EE customers continue to get the high-quality connectivity experience they need from the UK’s most reliable mobile network. *

* Network data based on rankings from the RootMetrics® UK RootScore® Report: 2H 2023. The RootMetrics award is not an endorsement of EE.  Visit https://rootmetrics.com/en-GB/content/uk-mobile-performance-review-2h-2023 for more details. Find more information at ee.co.uk/claims.