Virgin Media O2 has confirmed it will switch off its 3G network in 2025.

The telco noted that the move will enable it to upgrade its 4G and 5G networks, reduce energy consumption, and deliver enhanced speeds and reliability for customers. Spectrum from the 3G network will be reallocated towards 4G and 5G services. The operator also revealed it will switch off its 2G service by 2033.

Feature: What the 2G and 3G shutoff means for 5G

– O2

The company said that the switch-off will be carried out in phases across the country, and is in line with the UK government's expectations that mobile network operators will switch off 2G and 3G by 2033.

Virgin Media O2 noted that its 3G mobile network carried less than four percent of all data used on its network last year, but 11 percent of the company's total energy consumption.

According to the telco, the 3G switch-off will contribute towards its plans to reach net zero by 2040.

“3G was once an exciting new development for telecoms providers that brought new opportunities for customers," said Jeanie York, CTO at Virgin Media O2.

"But as we continue to evolve our network to provide the best mobile connectivity, it is clear that switching off 3G and focusing our attention and investment on the faster, more reliable, and more efficient 4G and 5G services is the right thing to do for our customers, our business and the environment."

York added that the telco will keep affected customers updated over the next 18 months.

Vodafone has already begun switching off its 3G service in the UK, ahead of a full switch-off of the service next year. Three has set out plans to call time on its 3G service by the end of next year.

Earlier this summer, BT Group chief networks officer Greg McCall told DCD that the operator will begin decommissioning its 3G network from the first quarter of next year.