back to article Shut off 3G by 2033? How about 2023, asks Vodafone UK

Vodafone is to begin retirement of its 3G network next year, saying this will free up frequencies to improve 4G and 5G services. The move follows proposals by the UK government late last year to see 2G and 3G networks phased out by 2033. Other networks have already confirmed plans to start early, with BT phasing out 3G …

  1. Joe W Silver badge

    Phase out 3g

    Bloody bonkers b***rds!

    Don't know about Britain, but I have expereince ina few other countries (EU and non-EU). I might have 4G outside, and downtown - inside the house or behind the second mountain range (where there are still houses, people do live there, ya ken!). I am lucky to get any signal... on both SIM cards (diffferent providers and different networks even). Yeah, unless they actually manage to roll out far better coverage in this neck of the woods (actually quite urban, commuter town, decent infrastructure) they should rather keep that older stuff running.

    1. elwe

      Re: Phase out 3g

      I had no signal at all at work in central London, until I upgraded to a 5G capable Pixel 6. Now I have great 5G coverage all over the building. It wasn't really a problem before because wifi and calling over wifi.

      In theory, if people are using 3G inside buildings in an area, that should show up and they won't turn it off until after network upgrades have gone through to allow 4G and/or 5G use inside. And where 3G is turned off, 4G/5G can be deployed on the frequencies previously used by 3G. Signal propagation is mostly down to the frequency used, so if you have 3G now and they turn it off, but turn on 4G/5G on the same frequency you should then get 4G/5G.

      1. Adelio Silver badge

        Re: Phase out 3g

        How many people 1) do not have a 4g Capable phone or b) have little 4g Coverage.

        Not everyone changes there phones every 2 years ya know!

        1. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

          Re: Phase out 3g

          Some of us (eg ME) still use non-smart phones as well.

        2. David Gosnell

          Re: Phase out 3g

          And therein is the thing, they want you to. Even the forced obsolescence from baked-in batteries will become less of a thing with the "right to repair", so they need some way to keep the gravy flowing.

    2. ShadowSystems

      Re: Phase out 3g

      I agree. Until they ensure that everyone *can* get 4G+ signal everywhere, they can't really afford to cut off 2G/3G service.

      I'm living just a stone's throw from California's "Silly Cone" valley where gigabit fiber & 5G is probably more prevelent than cockroaches or Starbucks, but in my "cow town", we get SFA as far as those services are concerned.

      Example: I live about 1 mile from the motorway where the 4G/5G signal corridore is strongest, but sitting next to the window & my phone only reports it's got "3G/4G" (not 4GLTE nor 5G) and at a measley 2~3 bars at most.

      If the carriers want to cut off the 2G/3G network, they need to make sure the infrastructure is in place to actually deliver the 4G/5G signal, otherwise merely buying a new phone won't do SFA to change the fact that there is no signal in the first place.

      =-/

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Phase out 3g

      3G / 4G largely use the same spectrum, just different networking protcols. Anyway, in Germany UMTS was switched off last year and the sky has yet to fall in!

    4. DS999 Silver badge

      Rural coverage

      What do you think they're going to do, pull the plug on 3G towers and walk away? The whole point of this is to allow re-using the 3G spectrum for 4G or 5G. Spectrum is a VERY valuable asset and won't be simply abandoned.

      So this should be a good thing for people in rural areas, except the hopefully small number who have phones that are 3G only. Presumably the telcos will contact those upgrade about an upgrade, since they can tell from the ESN what is connected and therefore whether it is 3G only or not.

      1. dogcatcher

        Re: Rural coverage

        A good thing for people in some rural areas would be to get any sort of coverage.

      2. jonfr

        Re: Rural coverage

        Both 4G and 5G* can work on 700Mhz and that is good for rural coverage. Both 2G and 3G are limited to 900Mhz/2100Mhz frequencies and 2G is limited to 900Mhz/1800Mhz.This are the frequencies allowed in Europe.

        Both standards are today insecure and easily hacked. That just invites problems.

        *4G can also work on 450Mhz and 5G is soon going to be adjusted for that frequency but its not in the standard yet. The problem is that there are no phones on the market that work on 450Mhz frequency. There is some special hardware that can use 4G on 450Mhz.

        **4G on 450Mhz is used in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany. There might be more countries that use this standard without me knowing about it.

        1. Down not across Silver badge

          Re: Rural coverage

          450MHz is great for rural coverage as any of us who used old NMT phones knew. When they introduced NMT-900 sure there were more channels, but for coverage out in the middle of nowhere NMT-450 was much better choice.

          1. jonfr

            Re: Rural coverage

            There also is a GSM-450 standard but it was never used. I don't know why that happened. I don't think this is a problem with the antenna design since the antennas can be designed to deal with this frequency, even on modern smartphone.

    5. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Phase out 3g

      I only get a 2G Vodafone signal at work (inside or outside), I have to walk about 200M in any direction and I get an LTE connection.

      1. David Lewis 2
        Joke

        Re: Phase out 3g

        That’s why it’s called a ‘mobile’ phone!

    6. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Phase out 3g

      In Italy Vodafone shutdown its 3G network last year already. TIM is going to shutdown its one this year.

    7. GruntyMcPugh

      Re: Phase out 3g

      Exactly this. There are a few places not that far out of town I go to walk my dogs at the weekend, where I can't get 4G. I presume there are many more rural locations. Hell, there are places I visit in Cornwall which invite me to pay for my parking using an App, but I can't get _any_ phone signal.

  2. ARGO
    Black Helicopters

    2G?

    Interesting that there is no mention of 2G here. As I understand it, Voda are keeping that running for now. And it could serve as a fall back for all those folk with 3G (or non-VoLTE 4G) handsets. But as 2G is also for the chop by 2033, I guess they'd rather move folk to a capable handset now so the later phase can concentrate on the rather trickier M2M devices.

    1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: 2G?

      They'd bloody better not turn off 2G any time soon – it's all my Nokia supports (and I'm buggered if I'm getting a smartarsephone just for calls and texts). If they do, fingers crossed they'll start making old-school handsets that run on 4G.

      1. ARGO

        Re: 2G?

        "Fingers crossed they'll start making old-school handsets that run on 4G."

        Nokia (or rather the people who now own that brand) are way ahead of you there: https://www.gsmarena.com/res.php3?sSearch=nokia+4G

        Battery life isn't quite as good as your old model, but still way better than a smartphone.

    2. Ralph Online

      Re: 2G?

      Vodafone 2G/GPRS service is in use by huge number of M2M devices - most of them in the SIM cards installed in car satnavs.

      While these are still out there in sufficient numbers Vodafone will be reluctant to decommission 2G. The new/next generation M2M devices support 4G, ideally 5G?

      I don't think anybody would really want their voice calls to fall back to 2G - limited Codecs supported and quality was pretty bad!

      1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

        Re: 2G?

        2G still sounds fine for me – having used someone else's 5G phone, I'm sceptical that there's any difference in the quality.

      2. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: 2G?

        There's also a surprisingly large amount of SIMS used in GPS trackers e.g. in lorries. A lot of these are wired into the electrics, plus often not easily accessible to add to the fun.

        Given these can be installed on very expensive bits of kit, there would be a lot of grief

        Capabilities of the tracker re 2G / 3G / 4G will depend on manufacturer and age of tracker, though generally fallback to 2G supported on "max" 3G models.

    3. Dr. Vagmeister

      Re: 2G?

      I have a 2G phone. The battery lasts 3 weeks with near zero phone usage. I don't need a smartphone. The only time it could come in handy is when i select a bottle of wine going cheap - does it taste like sawdust or vinegar ?

      1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: 2G?

        "does it taste like sawdust or vinegar"

        Those are strange requirements for wine.

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: 2G?

        "The battery lasts 3 weeks with near zero phone usage."

        I get about two weeks from my seven year old Samsung S5 Mini. I sits on the desk [*] as a backup alarm clock, and that's literally all it does - ring each weekday morning five minutes after the main alarm goes off.

        * - not by the bed, so I have to actually get up to silence it.

        1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: 2G?

          "I sits on the desk"

          Does sometimes you sits and thinks, too?

          1. heyrick Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: 2G?

            We'll know we have AI cracked when swipe-type and autocorrect actually make things better...

    4. NeilPost Silver badge

      Re: 2G?

      2G/EDGE/GPRS is still used by a lot of low data telemetry out there in the wilds where there is not a 3G signal to turn off !

      I guess Virgin/O2 will keep 3G up until Motorola Airwave Emergency Services Network replacement actually works.

    5. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: 2G?

      Don't your smart meters ultimately use 2G/3G?

      Here in France, the Linky smart meter blasts junk on the line (like CPL) for a few seconds per day. But no matter how hard it might try, the possible range is extremely small. So what they do (at least out in the country) is that there is a little cream coloured box fairly close to the step-down transformer that drops the 15kV to 230V. Three phase wires radiate from that to the buildings in the locality. There's one farm and three residences supplied by that transformer (I'm half a kilometre away). This box is able to read the data sent by the smart meters, and it sends it via GPRS to a central location for recording and billing.

      How are smart meters connected to the mothership in rural locations in Britain?

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Holmes

        Don't your smart meters ultimately use 2G/3G?

        Yes, they do.

        As usual, another ill-thought-out policy..

  3. NorthernCoder
    Boffin

    Not only phones

    A big challenge for them will be to get people and companies to replace the devices which aren't phones, such as home alarms with 3G backup, 3G-modems for monitoring remote automation systems and similar.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A challenge for *whom*?

      Is that a challenge for the mobile operators, or for those with the affected kit?

    2. RSW

      Re: Not only phones

      What do the smart meters use that they are still trying to shove down our throats?

      1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        Re: Not only phones

        What do the smart meters use that they are still trying to shove down our throats?

        The customer typing it in.

        1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

          Re: Not only phones

          True dat. Mine worked briefly but is now as dumb as the old one.

        2. cyberdemon Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Not only phones

          Mine's a good old Bakolite -encased electromechanical meter. They can pry it out of my cold, dead hands, frankly.

          That one doesn't over-read by a factor of five when driving any DC load without active PFC.

          The 'smart' meters, especially the old ones, weren't "True RMS" - they had a single sample point, at the top of the AC waveform, and made an assumption that the current was sinusoidal and in-phase with the voltage.

          But what happens when you have a bridge rectifier and a capacitor on the mains-end of your load? All the current is concentrated at the top of the voltage waveform, where the diodes are in conduction. So you could be severely overcharged for LED lighting, as well as a lot of IT equipment.

      2. Tom Chiverton 1

        Re: Not only phones

        it's a short range proprietary (read: terrible/insecure) protocol innit ?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not only phones

        There was an article that the reason EDF are so keen to get smart meters installed is that they have a huge surplus of type 1 units that work on 2G/3G and want to get rid of them

      4. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Not only phones

        SMETS2 smart meters use 2G/3G. So maybe they will fall back to 2G with the 3G off. But there are going to be many installations where only 3G is available, so the meter will go dumb.

        This is a problem, as future energy security is to be maintained by demand management, using dynamic pricing. Right now, it's just for electric vehicle charge points (that's why you can't have a charge point without a smart meter) but it is intended to be applied to domestic supplies too.

        Replacing the communications module on dead meters is going to be expensive and slow.

        DCC has a contract with Telefonica to provide 3G until 2033. I bet the Tristrams have forgotten that

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Not only phones

          Right, so before they start only deploying future-proofed "smart" meters by mandate, it might be a good idea to voluntarily take one of the older ones now so that we get 10 more years of "dumb" metering because there'll be no network for them to connect to. :-)

        2. Julz Silver badge

          Re: Not only phones

          I think you only 'need' a smart meter for a vehicle charging point if you want to sign in to get particular electricity tariffs. I don't think it is mandated.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Not only phones

            Yes, currently, "smart" meters are not compulsory. Yet!

    3. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Not only phones

      The telcos know who has those devices, so they can contact whoever is paying the bill. The gotcha will be where whoever is paying the bill isn't necessarily the person who depends on it, the more layers in between telco and end user the more chance for snafus.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rural Areas ?

    "However, rural areas are typically less blessed with coverage, and many subscribers there will know that 3G is often the only service available, even if your handset is capable of 4G or 5G. The modernisation programme is an opportunity for the company to address this."

    Who wrote/researched this?

    Many rural areas are lucky to have 2G (voice/text and maybe a kb/second data if the wind is right) service. 3G would be godsend. And Vodafone should know that - I ditched them 10+ years back as their 3G service barely existed outside of cities and large towns. Which was about the time they announced they had completed 3G roll out. But then, the licences issued by gov.uk only stipulated something like 90% residential area coverage was required.

    Plus, If they want to force everyone to abandon old 3G phones, they also need to start selling new phones that are not based on Android or Apple, do not track and download your every move and fart, and have a HMI interface that consists of more than a stupid fondle screen.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Rural Areas ?

      Plus, If they want to force everyone to abandon old 3G phones, they also need to start selling new phones that are not based on Android or Apple, do not track and download your every move and fart, and have a HMI interface that consists of more than a stupid fondle screen.

      I agree with that, I’ve currently got an old 3G BlackBerry that I use just for calls and texts. Battery life compared to my 4G Smartphone is staggering and lasts several days. I’ve yet to find a modern phone that matches it on battery life and a lack of Facebork/WhatsApp/Instagram/Google apps etc. i need to be able to get calls and may not always be near a power supply or had power. I’ve gone for 24hrs or more like that (especially after a power cut in a rural area) and my BlackBerry has retained power for far longer than that. No chance of getting anything better than 3G there either.

    3. fxkeh

      Re: Rural Areas ?

      > Plus, If they want to force everyone to abandon old 3G phones, they also need to start selling new phones that are not based on Android or Apple, do not track and download your every move and fart

      They really don't need to do that. People who aren't happy with either an iOS or Android based smartphone are a small niche and as a commercial company I doubt Vodafone would care about abandoning them.

    4. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Rural Areas ?

      Maybe written by somebody in a more connected country? I can now just about get 4G in the house if I'm near a window (stone walls, a long way to anything resembling civilisation, it's rush hour if two tractors try to pass on the same road).

      Outside, there's a sweet spot by the old oak where if I stand "just so", I can get around 50MB/sec. Great for uploading stuff to YouTube, as the ADSL line is only 3.5MBish down, and a much more sedate 0.77MB up.

      Not quite enough to have reliable 4G inside, but it's pretty impressive given how rural this place is.

      As for the wired connection, we're supposed to get fibre in two years. They've been saying that since 2012 when they announced the plan of Bretagne 2.0 (yes, they actually called it that) and a promise to bring 100MBit to everybody in Brittany. Which came to a screeching halt when reality knocked on the door and pointed out the scale of what they just announced. So... In two years... they'll probably promise it in two years. I'm not going to hold my breath.

  5. jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

    Saving energy?

    "3G network estimated to use 110 KWh of energy to transmit a terabyte of data compared with 30 KWh for 4G"

    You only need 4 times as much data going over that 4G network ( which seems quite feasible given the speed increase) and you've undone that energy reduction.

    How big is a typical 3/4/5G cell? Or, how many 5G cells do you need to provide the same coverage as a single 3G cell? Wouldn't be surprised to find that any claim by a telco that moving up the Gs is better for the environment is ... dubious.

    1. Crypto Monad

      Re: Saving energy?

      Yes, it seems like a very dubious claim.

      Unless a single cell site uses less power when migrated from 3G/4G to 5G - or unless migrating to 5G means that cell sites can be switched off while maintaining the same coverage - then there's no actual power saved; just more data capacity / faster speeds.

      Furthermore, as long as there's spare data capacity, and the mobile operators are selling it as a fixed-line replacement, then all that capacity will be used up - which could have been provided much more power-efficiently over a ground-based FTTP network.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Saving energy?

        I'm sure they are basing it on the typical equipment installed for each generation. The 3G base stations will mostly have equipment that's 10-15 years old, so the DSPs handling the modulation etc. are made on a 10-15 year old lithography process. The 4G base stations are 5-10 years old, the 5G base stations use current lithography.

        Just like CPUs are able to process x amount of data a lot more efficiently than they did 10-15 years old, so it is for cellular. Obviously if you built 3G base station hardware from scratch today you could make it far more efficient, but no one is doing that.

    2. Tessier-Ashpool

      Re: Saving energy?

      How big is a 4G/5G cell?

      5G has been rolling out in my nearest town lately, and I amuse myself on my regular jaunts to civilisation by keeping tabs on the 4G/5G CarPlay icon during my drives. When 5G pops up, it’s typically so for about 1km or thereabouts.

  6. Giles C Silver badge

    Power calculations

    I just did a quick check I can get ~50mb on a 4G connection

    So to transfer a terabyte will take 6.5 hours roughly

    My 10GB data allowance would take 30minutes and use 15kw of power which means that to support one mobile user a base station needs a 136A power feed.

    Is that right? Just seems very high to me.

    1. johnfbw

      Re: Power calculations

      Seems a bit off

      4G 30kWh for 1TB implies 3kWh for 10GB - a hairdryer running for an hour and a half is about 3kWh

      I doubt base stations use either 13amp plugs nor 240V outlets, plus the average is 30kWh - but I guess that includes longer distance transmissions (who might not get full speed) and lots of users

      1. MatthewSt

        Re: Power calculations

        Still off by 10x

        4G 30kWh for 1TB implies 0.3kWh for 10GB

        1. pavel.petrman Silver badge

          Re: Power calculations

          I for one find this impressive. 10 GB is twice my current monthly data volume. I reckon the consumption is calculated for the whole works, not the last mile connection only. Which means, on this outdated technology, I get a month's worth of non-stop data communication on three hours of of the good oldeven more outdated staircase light bulb.

          If I had been developing it, it would have been more like two railway carriages of coal and two hundred people to keep it runnung.

        2. johnfbw

          Re: Power calculations

          Hoisted by my own petard. I also can't do maths!

  7. mark l 2 Silver badge

    So with all these 90% energy savings the network operators will make from switching off 3G surely that means bills can come down and they don't need to start charging for EU roaming again?

    1. johnfbw

      Haha

      O2 Deutschland is switching off EU roaming to the UK at the end of the year. Profiteers have to profit!

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        O2 UK is keeping roaming to EU deal as it is for the time being, profiteers profit by stealing a march on rivals.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, because someone has to pay to replace a load of perfectly functional kit that the UK government suddenly don't like the manufacturer of. You didn't think it would be the government or the networks did you?

  8. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    This is more about flogging new phones and more expensive network plans to the masses, and I hate it

  9. ricardian

    I live on Stronsay, Orkney. The nearest mobile phone tower is on the island of Sanday, about 7 miles away. I can get a signal on my mobile about twice a week and that's usually just enough to receive a couple of texts. There is a new mobile phone tower under construction as part of the emergency services network, apparently that's run by EE. I wonder if Vodafone could add a couple of aerials on that tower?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Didn't I read somewhere, possibly right on this very website, that the networks are supposed to be sharing infrastructure in the areas of poor/no coverage so that we all get more and better coverage?

      1. ARGO

        Shared Infrastructure

        Yes. It's in progress, but going about as quickly as you'd expect for something involving four competing companies, a regulator, various central government departments and hundreds of local councils. Details are here https://srn.org.uk/

    2. simpfeld

      I'd want a phone with WiFi calling turned on all the time at that location.

  10. David Shaw

    Fake BTS problem

    Quite a few years ago, I was asked to look into the proliferation of fake GSM/UMTS base-stations. Entry level hardware was universal & cheap, much code was available online. I thought high value high-impact targets (capital cities, critical infrastructure, financial markets) would’ve dropped 2G, 2.5G, 3G by now?

    Italian DigitalTerrestialTV has just started (yesterday , here in north) a roll-out of DVB-T/T2 mpeg4 mux, replacing mpeg2 systems, but freeing up a lot of old TV VHF/UHF spectrum for increasing the 5G telecoms capabilities. It’s a slow roll-out, taking about a year - but I’ve already noticed that I’m losing some of the other regional channels. Might need more antennas.

    5G in central Milano was around 600 megabit/s to an (US mWave) iPhone, not quite sure I need that bandwidth at present, but some AR/VR types might be able to use it. There’s some business cases for 5G, probably another ‘wave’ or tech-bubble coming - when the 5G ‘killer-app’ is coded.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fake BTS problem

      So... you propose to force people to create fake 5G endpoints? Security by upgrading the protocol?Isn't that just one level below security by obscurity?

      Also, you won't be getting 600mbp/s 5G when everyone else has upgraded their phones...

      1. David Shaw

        Re: Fake BTS problem

        Thanks for the time you took to reply, it's always a good idea to clarify things

        No, of course we shouldn't force ppl to make fake 5G endpoints.

        They have obviously already done that, the ones with a need, and appropriate funding.

        You have to assume that everything is already (a bit) compromised, think of that famous UB40 cybersecurity ditty, featuring Herb Alpert on trumpet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jausD8qsnKU

        (a hard example, why do my home Huawei routers insist on checking home at 3am each day, when I know that there isn't any new firmware available - must try some VM/ettercap chicanery on them?)

        the point is, If an idiot such as me can make a fake 2G, GPRS, 3G service, out of cheap bits - then maybe sunsetting those technologies from critical stuff might be a great idea, or at least plan the transition, soonish.

        I promise that I'll leave 5G alone. 5G could well be a great upgrade & there are a whole family of packet freq/bandwidth tech associated, such that low data IoT can fit in there. A quick look at Thales IoT showed them pushing mMTC massive Machine Type Communication for Smart Meters.

        [URLLC Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communication & eMBB enhanced Mobile Broadband was also on offer, for those who need moar/snappier]

        (Yes, completely agree with you on the expected 5G speed, I only had a "4G" SIM , so was rather surprised to see the "5" appear anyway)

  11. Big_Boomer

    They don't want you

    If you have a 2G/3G only phone then you are quite simply not spending enough money for Vodafone to consider you in their plans. You almost certainly are not paying a monthly fee for your phone, you probably have an airtime contract that includes very little or no data and you monthly bill rarely exceeds £10. Voda would rather that you went elsewhere so they can concentrate their earning potential on the Vlogger that has an iPhone 13 with a 400GB data contract for £50 per month, and regularly exceeds that 400GB. Kerching!! It seems that they also don't want people who roam in the EU as that now costs you £1 or £2 per day as opposed to included with O2 or Virgin. I ditched Voda years ago after they expected me to pay them for a microcell to compensate for their awful coverage.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They don't want you

      Curiously enough I got a call from a Vodafone operative on my (ancient) mobile the other day, asking about how often I topped it up. I don't, very often, as it doesn't go down quickly the way I use it. Vodafone did introduce a "use it or lose it" rule a couple of years ago so now you have to send a text or make a call every 90 days or the account goes defunct. I suspect they are grubbing out all the customers who aren't happy with being revenue streams.

      (I would look forward to their explanation of how they are going to refund my credit when they cut the service off, but realistically expect Ofcom to cave in to a sob story and allow them to plonk it in to the directors' pink gin fund).

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pretty sure 3G and 4G can work at the same time...

    ...there is precedent for it...

    ...are you sure this isn't just saving money? Like by selling their old 3G equipment for use in other countries while they still can?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Pretty sure 3G and 4G can work at the same time...

      Other counties are often way ahead in their cellphone infrastructure and won’t want out outdated stuff.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pretty sure 3G and 4G can work at the same time...

      Of course there's a large element of saving money - not in reselling old kit (it's not really worth anything) but in the electricity bill. Operators have the same problem there that households are going to have in a month or two.

      3G and 4G won't work at the same time in the same spectrum. 2G and 4G can be interleaved though, and you can even allocate capacity dynamically between them.

      1. Rahbut

        Re: Pretty sure 3G and 4G can work at the same time...

        Surely 5G, with reduced latency, lower power consumption, higher user density for the same spectrum would be a better use of 2100MHz? Would help a lot with 5G coverage, rather than putting 4G there.

        (and no point interleaving 2G in that spectrum)

        1. ARGO

          Re: Pretty sure 3G and 4G can work at the same time...

          Not yet, but eventually.

          5G latency improvements don't come until Stand-Alone 5G is live (maybe 2023~24 in the UK). At the moment 5G latency is limited by its signalling running over 4G.

          At the radio level there's minimal power difference between 4G and 5G. Spectral efficiency is also about the same.

          Right now user density would be much higher for 4G2100 than 5G2100 simply because there are 10x more 4G2100 devices out there. That will probably reverse around the same time Stand Alone arrives. The full density capabilities of 5G aren't needed for handsets though; it's more about Internet of Things.

          2G interleaving is only an option in the 900 & 1800 bands in the UK - no 2G2100 devices exist. Unlikely to see 5G in 2100 just yet though; there are plenty of other bands available that require less work. For example 700 & 800 give much better coverage than 2100, while 1800 would be a better option for capacity.

  13. Trollslayer
    Flame

    Smart meters

    How many smart meters use 3G?

    1. KBeee Silver badge

      Re: Smart meters

      It seems all the talk is about phones, things like "Only 3% of phones use 3G".

      They ignore things like smart meters, car/lorry satnav traffic updates, car/lorry trackers and wifi hotspots etc. because it makes their arguments much weaker.

  14. MOH

    Net zero?

    Presumably they'll push ticking this box while not including the footprint of all those forced to upgrade their phone when they otherwise would have stayed with their current model.

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