Vodafone Ireland said it will move its entire network to 4G and 5G services as part of a significant investment and upgrade programme due to begin later this year.
The mobile operator said it will upgrade its 3G network to the faster services as part of a modernisation programme to make the network more reliable for users, but also more sustainable and energy efficient. Modern 5G networks are more energy efficient than the 3G networks that Vodafone switched on in Ireland in 2003.
The upgrade will take place on a phased basis. Around 6 per cent of the data used on Vodafone Ireland is carried on the older 3G networks, the network said.
“Our ambition is to provide the best and most reliable level of network coverage around the country for our customers. Upgrading our 3G network and our sites to 4G and 5G will futureproof our network for our customers all across Ireland. 3G provided an initial foundation to build out connectivity, the technology has now sufficiently developed to give our customers a faster and more sustainable mobile experience that lessens the impact on the environment,” said Vodafone chief executive Anne O’Leary.
“We are communicating the beginning of this phased programme as early as possible so customers can stay connected while this transition takes place. This is just the start of an extensive communication campaign that will ensure that any customers that need guidance, are supported by our customer teams.”
Ireland isn’t the only market where Vodafone is looking to switch off 3G. Greece is due to be retired by December, while Vodafone UK will switch off its 3G service next year.
Although most consumers will be unaffected by the move, some users of older handsets will be forced to upgrade if they want to keep their internet access. Vodafone launched its 4G network in Ireland in 2013, with 5G’s commercial launch following in 2019. Irish Times