3G is slowly disappearing. The VodafoneZiggo 3G network must be completely disabled by the end of February. KPN also intends to stop using the 3G network from 2022 onwards. T-Mobile has no concrete plans yet, but that provider does not exclude 3G from disappearing in the long term. Five questions about switching off 3G.

Why is the 3G network turned off?

VodafoneZiggo wants to make more capacity available for the 4G network. According to the provider extra capacity is needed because of the "rapidly increasing data consumption of customers on the 4G network". Because the majority of customers use 4G, according to the provider it is more efficient to free up the 3G frequency space for this.

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What if there is no 4G available somewhere?

Vodafone and KPN customers with a 3G subscription or telephone may be confronted with the situation that they do not have 4G coverage. With both providers, 4G internet is not available, especially in the Veluwe, Terschelling and other Wadden islands. View the coverage maps of Vodafone and KPN for the exact situation.

"In the unlikely event that there is no 4G coverage somewhere, mobile data can only be sent via low speed (2G, ed.) Or via wifi (in the train, ed.)", Says René Loman of VodafoneZiggo.

2G, 3G, 5G: what is what again?

  • 1G: The first generation for mobile communication. This generation was still analogue: data communication was not yet possible.
  • 2G: The first digital mobile phone network. Users can make calls on this network, send text messages and use the internet at low speed.
  • 3G: Can be used for calling, texting and sending larger data files. Users can also use mobile internet with a higher network speed than with 2G.
  • 4G: Mainly focused on data traffic and offers download speeds of around 100 Mbps.
  • 5G: New technology, not yet available. 5G must offer faster mobile internet than 4G.

How do I know if my phone supports 4G?

Phones from before 2013 often do not support 4G. One way you can check whether or not your phone supports 4G is by temporarily switching off your WiFi, so that your phone connects to the mobile network. Is there 4G or LTE at the top of your phone screen? Then your phone supports 4G.

Will GPRS, 2G or 3G appear? Then your phone or your SIM card does not support 4G, or you have 4G off in the settings of your phone. Of course you also need a subscription with 4G support.

What should I do if my phone does not support 4G?

Once the 3G network is turned off, you can choose to purchase a new phone, but that is not necessarily necessary. "Anyone who consciously chooses to keep a 3G device can continue to make mobile calls and use the internet. That device then automatically switches to 2G with a slightly lower sound quality and less fast internet," says Loman.

Where KPN and VodafoneZiggo switch off their 3G network but keep 2G, T-Mobile pulls the plug from its 2G network in November. Owners of old phones that only support 2G must purchase a new device or switch to another provider.