VODAFONE has announced that it is starting to switch off its legacy 3G network across Wrexham in the next few weeks. 

The announcement follows a customer awareness campaign which started in January 2022 and significant network improvements including ongoing investment in 5G across the country.

The latest phase follows successful 3G switch offs in other UK locations with the remainder of the UK set to follow by the end of February 2024.  

The programme means the radio spectrum currently allocated for 3G can be used to strengthen 4G and 5G services further across the UK.  

Meanwhile, Vodafone’s 2G network, currently covering over 99% of the UK population, will remain for calls, texts and more for the time being. 

The activity follows a customer awareness campaign which started in January 2022 and included Vodafone notifying customers who may be affected by the switch off, offering information and advice such as how to check if a mobile device is 4G-capable and how to carry out software upgrades where required. 


Vodafone’s UK Chief Network Officer, Andrea Dona, said: “Our 3G switch off programme has gone extremely well so far.  As a result of our ongoing network improvements, data traffic has declined over the last few years with less than 2% of the data used on our network being on 3G. This means we can start to redeploy its remaining spectrum to our 4G and 5G services, ultimately leading to stronger and faster coverage for more parts of the UK.  Good news for both our customers but also the wider UK economy. 

"At the same time, with modern networks being much more energy efficient, its retirement is also an important step forward for us reaching  Net Zero for our UK operation by 2027.  As we continue to focus on building our reliable award-winning network, now really is the time to say goodbye to 3G.”

Customers can learn more about the Vodafone 3G switch off programme online, by calling 191 (from their Vodafone phone) or by visiting their local Vodafone store.

3G switch off – what does it mean and are you ready?

G stands for Generation and signifies the evolution of mobile coverage over time:

  • 2G – now over 30 years old and is mainly used for calls and text messages as well as a number of business applications.
  • 3G – introduced over 20 years ago and offers speeds high enough to allow some basic data services but takes much longer to download than 4G and 5G.
  • 4G – introduced in 2013, is faster than 3G and offers services such as 4G Calling, a way of making mobile phone calls with better audio quality.
  • 5G – launched in 2019, is the latest generation of wireless technology and offers faster speeds and response times for browsing the internet.  For example, it could take over four hours to download a two-hour long HD quality film on 3G where on 5G it could take as little as four minutes.

Most phones will tell you which ‘generation’ or G they are using if you look in the top left or right-hand corner of your display screen.  It is worth remembering however – depending on what type of mobile phone you have – that it may switch between coverage types whilst you’re out and about, so you get the best service.

If your mobile phone is 3G only and has 2G, it will switch to 2G when you’re in coverage for calls and texts.  However, it will no longer work if you want to access data, meaning you will be unable to use data to browse the internet. However, if your mobile phone is 4G or 5G compatible, you can continue to use it for data in 4G or 5G coverage areas.