If you’re a Vodafone customer, you’ve probably heard the 3G switch off is coming next year. As coverage is phased out, we’ll see stronger 4G and 5G services replace it, which means faster, more reliable connectivity.
The US, however, is ahead of the game and some of its mobile providers have already retired their 3G networks. If you’re jetting off to the States, you may be affected. Here’s what you need to know…
4G is taking over
As the majority of smartphones work on 4G as well as 3G, it’s likely you won’t notice that 3G is gone while you’re travelling stateside. But if you’re a Vodafone UK customer without 4G, you will no longer be able to use your phone to access the internet over 3G.
If you’re not sure whether your phone is capable of 4G calling, Vodafone have a handy list you can check. Alternatively, you can check the IMEI info website and look for a green tick mark in the ‘LTE’ box (Long-Term Evolution is another term for 4G).
Data roaming is changing
As a result of the switch off, you may see low quality calls and slower data speeds while you’re in the country. This is an industry wide issue as the 2G network has become congested. Vodafone are working to implement a solution that will enable customers with a 4G plan to make calls over the 4G network.
Until then, if you have a 3G phone, you can make phone calls, send text messages and use mobile data on T-Mobile’s 2G network in America. If you have a 4G phone, you can also use mobile data on T-Mobile’s 4G network.
If you’re in a part of the US without T-Mobile coverage, you’ll be connected to AT&T’s 4G network. In this case, you will be able to access the internet, but you won’t be able to make phone calls. This is because AT&T has already shut off its 2G network, while T-Mobile’s 2G is still active (there is no firm date for this switch off yet).
Before you fly, we advise Vodafone customers to check that the software on your device is up to date and that settings are set correctly to enable access to the 4G network.
If you have any questions about how the 3G switch off will affect your business in the UK, read our Q&A with Vodafone here, or contact our expert team for more information about roaming in the USA.