The 3G Switch-Off is almost complete

3G switch off with signal bars

by Daniel Dunne 

You may have heard the radio advertisement campaign from Vodafone recently informing everybody that their 3G signal has been pretty much switched off across the country. We first mentioned this would happen back in May 2022: Mobile provider Three is also in progress with its switch-off, which should be completed by the end of this year.

People with older handsets that are not capable of receiving 4G signals will notice that internet connectivity / mobile data will be lost. It is important to note though that handsets with 4G capability started being sold on the Irish market back in 2013 – particularly on premium-end smartphones. Then, in 2014, handsets with 4G capability slowly became standard – so the chances are that your phone is already 4G capable and there is nothing to worry about.

The 3G switch-off will impact the popular Nokia C5 phones with Nuance Talks (a screen reader for Symbian OS), which could affect many people with sight loss using these phones. It is important to stress that only internet services will be affected and that if you used this handset for web browsing or emails then these will no longer work. Your C5 phone will still make and take calls as well as text messages.

Phone calls and text messages operate on the even older 2G signal and this is not affected by the ongoing 3G switch off. So, if you really love that antique phone and shudder at the thoughts of having to change, it will still function for calls and texts if that is enough for you.

The 3G switch-off is part of plans to improve 4G and 5G services for customers. Three and Vodafone will see their 3G coverage replaced by strengthened 4G and 5G services, which offer faster, more reliable connectivity.

While we have only mentioned Vodafone and Three here in this article, it is important to note that many ‘virtual operators’ piggy-back on Vodafone’s and Three’s network, so other providers like Tesco Mobile, Clear, etc. will also see 3G signals switched off. At the time of writing, there has been no mention from Eir on their plans for 3G. However, it is likely that all network providers will follow suit.

If you are a user of some of the older handsets like the Nokia C5 or other handsets that will be rendered dumb because of the 3G switch off, also keep in mind that older phones like this are no longer made anymore and the Talks software is no longer supported so now might be a good time to look at some of the offerings from BlindShell.

BlindShell offers a tactile smartphone similar to older Nokia but with newer software and more capabilities such as access to WhatsApp and a voice assistant, a web browser, the Be My Eyes app, Envision app, and more.

You can check out some of the BlindShell mobile phones on the Vision Ireland website:

BlindShell Classic Mobile Phones

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