When will 2G and 3G Networks be switched off in the UK?

Customers buying 3G, 4G and 5G routers for projects that do not need high speed data provided by 4G and 5G mobile broadband connections will often choose a 2G Device or 3G router for their M2M / IoT application and we often get asked about whether they should continue to use and install 2G / 3G devices as the cost of switching these products installed in the field is very high.

There are often rumours around switching off 2G / 3G networks, and when we ask our SIM providers and network providers they often state that 3G networks are due to be switched off in the UK as soon as 2021 and many will be switched off in 2022.  However, Ofcom have addressed this question and you can view this by visiting the following link


In summary, this OFCOM letter states that there is currently no intention from any UK mobile network to officially shut down any 2G or 3G services in the UK

Reference: 00914360
Freedom of Information: Right to know request
Thank you for your request for information in relation to 2G infrastructure.
We received this request on 7 May 2020 and have considered it under the Environmental
Information Regulations 2004 (“the EIR”). The information sought is information relating to the
environment and such information should be processed in accordance with the EIR rather than the
Freedom of Information Act 2000.
You asked:
I would like to request information concerning the 2G network in the UK. There seems to be
no official / concrete data available as to when the UK plans to shut down 2G, that’s why I’m
making this inquiry with you.
I represent a company that manufactures vehicle security / tracking equipment and all of our
current products rely on 2G modems. Our products carry a 5 year warranty, therefore it is
important for us to know how long 2G will be available in the UK and at which point we
should stop offering our 2G based products.
Also, I would like to inquire as to HOW the termination of 2G is expected to happen i.e. will
the network be shut down at once in all areas of the UK or is it set to happen gradually
(decreasing coverage from area to area), and if it’s the latter – when is it set to begin?
Mobile Network Operator (MNO) spectrum licences are liberalised in terms of technology in order to
allow operators freedom to optimise their use of spectrum. They do have certain coverage
obligations, including for voice coverage, but these do not require the MNO (i.e. EE, Vodafone, O2
and Three) to deliver or maintain a service via any specific technology or spectrum. It would be a
commercial decision for the MNO whether or when to introduce a newer technology to serve any
area, managing the possible effects of such a change for its customers, including any commitments it
had made to support legacy systems or technologies.
Ofcom has recently set up a project to consider the impact of switching-off the 2G/3G infrastructure
in the UK. This project is currently in its preliminary ‘fact seeking’ phase and we are not aware of any
announcements by MNOs regarding the timescales of their potential 2G/3G switch-off.
Jessal Visavadia
Information Rights Advisor
3 June 2020
Page 2 of 3
However, we are aware that 2G/3G still has a variety of uses such as smart meters, eCall systems
and the example you have mentioned in your request. Going forward with this project, we will keep
in mind the needs of consumers, businesses and service providers.
I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further queries, then please send them to
information.requests@ofcom.org.uk quoting the reference number above in any future
Yours sincerely,
Jessal Visavadia

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