To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that users of mobile phones without internet access will continue to have access to telephone networks when (a) 2G and (b) 3G networks are switched off.
We have set out our expectation that all mobile network operators should have switched off their 2G and 3G networks by 2033. This will free up spectrum for 5G and beyond and is an important part of the UK’s strategy to increase diversity in the telecoms supply chain, contributing to the nation’s security and resilience.
The Government’s Wireless Infrastructure Strategy, published in April 2023, outlined our unwavering commitment to extending 4G coverage to 95% of the UK’s landmass, alongside setting out our ambition for the UK to have nationwide coverage of standalone 5G to all populated areas by 2030.
We welcome the fact that some operators have indicated they are likely to decommission their 2G/3G networks, particularly their 3G networks, earlier than 2033. We will continue to work with network operators to ensure a smooth transition that meets the needs of business users, ensuring that consumers, including vulnerable groups, are treated fairly and can continue to access the services they need.