UK Government Confirms Plans to Shut Down 2G/3G Networks by 2033

I think it would be fair to say that while the 2G networking system is mostly only the remit of exceptionally older mobile phones (I wouldn’t even go as far as to say smartphones), 3G is still an exceptionally prevalent system. Particularly for those of you, like me, who live in very rural areas. – It’s no secret, however, that the UK is currently attempting to undertake very ambitious strategy to not only get us on the 4G network but even 5G within the next 5-10 years.

In something that very clearly hammers that point home, however, following a report via TheRegister, the UK Government has confirmed intentions to permanently shut down both the 2G and even 3G networking systems by no later than 2033.

UK Confirms Plans to Shut Down 2G and 3G Networks

Although 2033 is clearly a very long way away, while the eventual shutdown of the 2G network did always seem somewhat inevitable, it’s honestly a little surprising to see that they are confident enough that the 4G and 5G system will offer enough coverage by then to scrap 3G entirely as well.

Why is this so difficult though? Well, the short answer is Huawei. Despite the tech giant representing one of the biggest telecommunication manufacturers in the world, both the UK and US governments are actively looking to no longer utilise their products through fears of potential backdoor security breaches being built-in. – We should, of course, note that no evidence of this actually existing has yet been found. However, this huge limitation/restriction clearly puts pressure on, frankly, far less significant companies to step up to the plate.

Why is 2033 the Date For the Shutdown?

The 2033 date has largely been set due to it being the one timeframe that network providers such as Vodafone, EE, Virgin Media, O2, and Three could all agree upon. It should be noted though that BT has already confirmed plans to begin phasing out 3G by as early as 2023.

By and large, however, this should be viewed as a hugely positive step. 4G and particularly 5G networking is hugely faster than its 2G and 3G counterparts. In fact, in many instances, the internet speeds offered on the platforms can be even faster than those on landline internet connections (4G has a hypothetically maximum download speed of 100Mbps with 5G eventually being able to offer double that!).

The only downside, of course, is that in just over 10 years’ time, many mobile phones will no longer be capable of accessing the internet. This may, therefore, mark the somewhat semi-death of the immovable object that is (or was) the Nokia 3310.

What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!

Mike Sanders

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