Mobile phone services, phone calls (voice), text messages (SMS) and internet (data), are transmitted through an interconnected network of mobile telephone masts.
The technology use to provide the mobile services has evolved since their initial deployments and will continue to do so. The first national mobile service in Ireland was 2G, launched back in 1993. In the early 2000s, mobile services evolved with the release of 3G. Then 4G was deployed by in the early 2010s and, most recently, mobile services have evolved again with the rollout of 5G in the early 2020s.
The ‘G’ stands for the ‘Generation’ of mobile phone technology, for example 3G is the Third Generation. Each evolution has been capable of faster mobile internet (data) services, which has enabled year on year growth in data consumption, the mobile service most commonly used by Irish consumers.
For further information on 5G and the evolution of mobile technology visit here.
The mobile providers will gradually phase out 3G from their networks in the coming months and years. This will allow the mobile providers to focus on increasing the deployment of more advanced technologies, 4G and 5G. 4G and 5G networks are expected to provide faster internet speeds, better signal quality and improved mobile service for customers. Each mobile provider may make this change at different times. You should check with your mobile provider for the latest updates on their services.
If you have an older mobile phone handset and/or service, you may be affected. If you have a 4G or 5G mobile device or service, this change is not likely to affect you.
Your mobile provider might contact you in due course to let you know if you are affected and what steps you need to take. You should check with your mobile provider for the latest updates and news on their plans to retire 3G.
If you are using an older device that doesn’t work with the newer 4G or 5G networks, you may need to get a new handset if you wish to continue using mobile data services. An older device will continue to support data services on the 2G network but with slower data speeds. Your mobile provider may be in contact to offer you an upgrade or you should get in touch with them to find out what they can do to help.
There are other devices that may be affected such as monitored care alarms, security alarms and card payment terminals if they use the 3G network. Our advice is to check with your device and/or service supplier to find out if you need an upgrade to make sure it still works after 3G networks are phased out.
Some vehicles also use 3G networks for updates and remote communication. Check with your local dealer to learn more.
We also advise consumers to always contact their mobile provider for the latest information.