Vodafone customers warned of major change to mobile network – some users may have to upgrade their phone for speedy data | The Sun

VODAFONE customers will soon need to upgrade their phone to use their data allowance – if they haven't had to already.

The network is set to shut off its 3G services completely by early 2024, but has already axed services in some areas of the UK.

"We’ve already switched off our 3G network in Plymouth, Basingstoke, Hull, Oxford, and Glasgow," says Vodafone.

"If you have a 3G phone when 3G is switched off, you’ll only be able to use our 2G network.

"You’ll still be able to send texts and make calls, but you’ll get a better connection by switching to a phone that can use 4G Calling – this means you can make calls over the 4G network."

It forms part of an industry-wide effort to 3G frequencies from the deck to make room for stronger 4G and 5G services.


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EE has said it will close 3G services in early 2024.

Three expects to switch off its own 3G network in late 2024.

While Virgin Media O2 announced last week it would begin shutting off access to 3G in 2025.

Will I be affected?

Around 5.5million people in the UK are estimated to be still using devices which rely on 2G or 3G services, according to Vodafone's figures.

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The decision to axe 3G will mostly affect people with older devices.

This is because these devices don't have the in-built radio technology that is needed for 4G or 5G connection.

The devices that will be affected will have been released pre-2012, or before 4G was first introduced.

Can I still use my mobile data?

If your phone is only compatible with 2G and 3G, you will no longer be able to access most of your mobile data allowance.

You must upgrade your phone to a newer model that can connect to 4G or 5G if you want to use your mobile data.

This has led campaigners to warn that turning off 3G networks will lead to people with older phones falling into "digital poverty," according to the BBC.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has offered advice for consumers on the switch-off on their website.

You will, however, still be able to use your call minutes and text allowance as usual.

How do I know if my phone can access 4G?

Many consumers won't be able to purchase a new phone in a cost-of-living crisis.

But there is a way to check if your device can access 4G, to avoid forking out cash for a newer phone.

If you have an iPhone, simply follow these steps:

  • Go to Settings > General Cellular.
  • Here if you see Enable 4G LTE option, your phone is 4G compatible.
  • You can select this option to enable 4G.

For Android users, follow this:

  • Go to Settings > Mobile Networks Network Mode.
  • Here you will see if your phone has the option of selecting a 4G/LTE mode.
  • If the mode is listed, your phone is 4G enabled.

Alternatively, you can check your device model and release date to see if you'll be affected.

Below were the first 4G compatible phones to be put on the market:

  • iPhone 5 16GB
  • iPhone 5 32GB
  • iPhone 5 64GB
  • Samsung Galaxy S III LTE
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 2 LTE
  • HTC One XL
  • Huawei Ascend P1 LTE


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If you have one of these devices, or your device is newer, then you're in the clear.

But if not, you won't be able to make use of your data plan beyond 2024, depending on who your provider is.

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