The U.K. announced on Wednesday it would phase out its 2G and 3G mobile networks by 2033 to free up radio waves for 5G and 6G services that will power technologies such as driverless cars, drones and virtual reality.
The government said all four U.K. networks – EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three – had agreed to the timetable.
BT, which owns the EE network, will phase out 3G by early 2023, followed by 2G, which is now more than 25 years old, after a few years.
The government believes that phasing out 2G and 3G services will continue to allow new device manufacturers to enter the market because they no longer need to support old technologies.
The UK also wants to end dependence on some suppliers, after China’s Huawei was banned from new networks last year, and accelerate the development of Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN) technology.