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3G switch off

SMARTY Pro-coach
SMARTY Pro-coach


The online SMARTY blog ( about 3G switch off begins:

All you need to know about the 3G switch off 

As part of our mission to give you the best possible network experience, 3G coverage on SMARTY will begin to come to an end in mid February, to make way for further improvements to our 4G & 5G networks. 

Has anyone noticed getting a 4G signal where previously they only got 3G?

Thank you.


SMARTY Motivator
SMARTY Motivator

@Chalkychap wrote:

Has anyone noticed getting a 4G signal where previously they only got 3G?

No, I still get 3G only in certain places when travelling between Swansea and Carmarthen (West Wales). I'm guessing I will get no signal at those locations once Three switch off 3G.

SMARTY Commentator
SMARTY Commentator

Thanks for the heads-up.

I hope the 4G signal in my area improves before the 3G is switched off!

SMARTY and Three really need to ensure they don't create blackspots all over the place. That is, get the 4G and 5G working reliably and usefully before removing 3G.

SMARTY Commentator
SMARTY Commentator

Can smarty publish which places are getting 3G switched off first / in February ? Before the full switch off is completed by end of 2024?

SMARTY Commentator
SMARTY Commentator

just curious, because I think it would be fine for 3G to be switched off in my area, I hardly see 3G these days.  I was also wondering if the 4G speed bandwidth will increase immediately following 3G switch off in any particular area, or if the whole country will have 3G switched off first and then the 4G bandwidth is increased nationwide (to avoid 3G/4G cross interference between masts). 

I believe each of the UK mobile service providers have different plans and schedules for their 3G network switch OFF.

SMARTY claim their 4G service will improve as a result of their 3G network switch OFF.

SMARTY Moderator SMARTY Moderator
SMARTY Moderator

Hi @Chalkychap 3G sunsetting will work with 4G replacing these 3G masts around the same time, as we will be working on this over the next couple of years you can rest assured, this will be a positive thing for the network! 😊

Thanks @George - currently Three UK's 3G switch OFF is being advertised as scheduled for completion by end of 2024. Some additional questions about this:

  • Is the current completion date correct?
  • Are 3G towers/masts really being replaced? 
    Surely any additional/new 4G equipment is simply installed on the existing tower/mast, and perhaps some additional towers/masts are being installed to improve coverage.

Yep that is the current completion date - naturally, this may move (planning permission, access to masts etc)

The Cells on these masts are being replaced with either 4G or 5G, so rest assured there will be no loss in mast volume. 

By the time 3G switch-off happens, we’ll upgrade all our sites to 4G, so all customers will be in a 4G area.

In places where you currently get 3G, that’ll move over to 4G so you’ll receive a better quality connection.

4G is a more efficient technology, so turning off our 3G allows us to reuse that spectrum on our 4G network, which makes better use of it.

Three are investing £2 billion into our network which will enable us to add more capacity and spectrum to our sites, as well as 5G technology that will improve congestion.

In terms of new equipment/masts, all sites are being upgraded and new sites being built.

Hope this helps @Chalkychap !

Thanks for these details @George

SMARTY Commentator
SMARTY Commentator

Without 3G, I wouldn't be able to make any calls!

I even spoke to customer service about this, and in order to make actual calls to people (for it to not drop mid-conversation) I have to limit it to 3G max... which means I get utter rubbish data speeds!

Indeed @Quin452, one of the potential downsides of 3G network switch OFF.
What handset are you using?

The online page at may help.


SMARTY Commentator
SMARTY Commentator

Huh, I was certain I replied to this.
I use a OnePlus Nord 2t 5G phone.  It has options for everything from 2G to 5G.

Currently, I seem to be getting stable 4G connections, although the quality isn't great (it could be "the other end", for all I know).

At least your OnePlus can use 4G and 5G to make calls, after the Three UK 3G network is turned OFF. 

SMARTY's @George confirmed that Three UK have begun switching OFF their 3G network, and work is due for completion by end of 2024.

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