City begins to lose 3G signal after 20 years

Vodafone will start turning off its 3G network across Galway city from next week, with a warning that older mobile devices may no longer be able to access the internet or send data.

Twenty years after Galway city got a 3G signal, its Vodafone data network is being upgraded with Clear Mobile and An Post mobile phone customers may also be affected. Phone calls and SMS messages should not be affected.

The move is part of an €8 million upgrade to the telecommunications company’s 4G and 5G mobile networks across Galway city. Vodafone switched off its 3G network in Limerick city in February, claiming it has increased download speeds by 20 per cent, and uplinks by 15 per cent,

TJ McIntyre is a UCD law lecturer and commentator on digital rights. “My one concern would be older monitored alarm systems which might run on a 3G simcard. Will they all go off when [the network] is turned off?”

The government telecoms watch dog, ComReg has a check list on its website in advance of the big Switch Off, and draws particular attention to monitor care alarms, such as fall detectors, which should be checked. Retailers’ older card machines, GPS trackers, fire alarms and automated gates may also be affected.

“To enjoy the best data and voice experience on our award-winning most reliable mobile network, we are encouraging the small number of customers who currently have 3G-only handsets to upgrade to 4G or 5G devices. After the 3G network is switched off, customers with a 3G handset will continue to have access to phone calls and text messaging on the 2G network,” said Sheila Kavanagh, Vodafone’s Network Director. “However, to access data services, we recommend they upgrade their handset.”

Anyone with concerns can call Vodafone or visit any of its eight shops across Galway.


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