The UK will phase out its 2G and 3G mobile networks by 2033 to free up radio waves for 5G and 6G services to power technologies such as driverless vehicles, virtual reality, and drones, the UK government has announced.
All four British networks – EE, Vodafone, O2, and Three – had agreed to the timetable, the government announced. BT, the owner of EE network, said in July it would phase out 3G by early 2023, followed by the more than 25-year-old 2G later in the decade.
The British government said that setting a date to end 2G and 3G services will make it simpler for new equipment makers to enter the market because they will not be obliged to support legacy technology. The government wants to end the reliance on a few suppliers after China’s Huawei was banned from new networks last year and to achieve that goal, the UK government is supporting the development of Open Access radio Networks (Open RAN) technology.
Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries, who is on an official trip to the US, announced 50 million pounds ($66.2 million) of additional funding for Open RAN projects.