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UK to ditch 2G and 3G networks by 2033

Image credit: Vichai Laorapeepornthong/Dreamstime

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries has announced that 2G and 3G mobile networks are to be phased out of use across the UK by 2033 as part of government measures to increase the security of telecoms supply chains.

According to Dorries, the UK would, in agreement with the country’s major networks, switch off all public 2G and 3G networks to free up spectrum for 5G and other future network technology.

She said the move would support a smoother transition to faster mobile networks and would make it easier for new suppliers to enter the market, supporting government plans to diversify its suppliers in the wake of its banning of Chinese firm Huawei.

The government said there were wider benefits to the move, including making it simpler to run networks as operators do not have to deal with the challenges which can arise from running up to four networks.

“5G technology is already revolutionising people’s lives and businesses – connecting people across the UK with faster mobile data and making businesses more productive,” Dorries said. “Today we are announcing a further £50m to put the UK at the forefront of mobile connectivity and to make sure our telecoms networks are secure now and in the future.”

She added the UK can only do this through “stronger international collaboration”, and also announced that she will meet with the US Secretary for Commerce Gina Raimondo today to “strengthen our ties on technology”.

Hamish MacLeod, director of industry body Mobile UK, which represents all the major UK networks, said it welcomed the decision. “Switching off 2G and 3G will enable operators to transition fully to more energy-efficient and high-capacity networks to the benefit of customers.”

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