BT is aiming to roll out 5G networks across the United Kingdom by 2028. The telecom operator is planning to phase out 3G operations from the country in the next two years so that it can use the crucial airwaves engaged in 3G networks to offer 5G services. For the unaware, BT had already launched its first 5G commercial networks in the UK two years back. The telecom operator now offers 5G network services in over 160 towns and cities of the UK. 5G will help the company in increasing the network capacity multi-folds, which is the need of the hour.
Demand for Mobile Capacity Increasing Rapidly
According to a Reuters report, CEO of BT Consumer, Marc Allera, said that demand for mobile capacity has been rising around 40% every year. Further, the 5G networks alone are seeing a massive number of users jumping to consume data and make calls. The report highlights that the traffic in 5G networks has more than quadrupled since last October.
One of the biggest contributing factors to the increased 5G traffic was the launch of the 5G supportive iPhone 12 series in the UK. Allera said that traffic on 4G and 5G networks have been increasing while legacy networks (2G and 3G) are seeing a decline in the number of users. Less than 25% of voice and 3% of data traffic was accommodated by 3G networks in March 2021.
EE, which is owned by BT, has become the first operator to put a firm timeline on the closure of 3G networks in the UK. By early 2023, the customers on the older generation 3G networks will have to shift to either 2G, 4G or 5G to continue using voice calling and data services. The operator will shut down 2G operations later in the decade. It is worth noting that there is no firm date for the closure of 2G networks.