Vodafone has this week announced it will be the first of the UK’s main mobile network providers to start switching off 3G in major cities, including Glasgow, to make room for more advanced 4G and 5G services. This means that older phones that were not designed for the newer 4G and 5G frequencies will no longer work in areas where the service is switched off.
However, recent analysis by CircleLoop on the current state of 5G availability in the UK revealed that Scotland has one of the lowest 5G connectivity scores of all UK regions, with a score of 52 out of 100. In contrast, Greater London scored 96 out of 100. Scotland was also found to have the most towns still receiving zero 5G coverage including Galashiels, Kirkwall, the Outer Hebrides and Lerwick in Shetland.
Damian Hanson, Co-Founder & Director of CircleLoop commented on the Vodafone announcement:
“3G has been a crucial data service for over two decades and its gradual switch off not only marks the end of an era but makes room for the long-awaited digital future of telecoms. However, there are valid concerns about the impact the 3G and impending PSTN switch-offs will have on businesses and consumers as the progress of the 5G rollout is much slower than planned.
“Our analysis of 5G availability in the UK shows that only 51% of major towns and cities currently receive full 5G coverage from all 4 UK mobile networks. Glasgow may have full 5G coverage, just like Edinburgh and Dundee, but Scotland still has the lowest 5G connectivity of all UK regions. Those living and working in more rural Scottish areas will be unsurprised, I’m sure, that areas like Galashiels, Kirkwall, the Outer Hebrides and Lerwick all still have no access to the 5G mobile network at all.
“While the move to digitise telecoms in the UK is welcome and encouraged, these statistics show much work needs to be done to keep the UK connected and communicating, particularly for businesses still navigating this challenging economic climate. 3G is no longer useful, but the Government and internet-based phone providers can be doing more to support businesses and consumers in understanding these significant changes, what new communications options are available and how the switch off of 3G, and soon PSTN, networks will impact them. If not, the next few years could be a bumpy digital transition for the UK.”