Business Management

UK 3G Sunset: What to Know and How to Prepare

November 22, 2023 | By Cantaloupe, Inc.

UK 3G Sunset: What to Know and How to Prepare

You’ve likely heard that 3G networks are being phased out by major mobile network providers. In fact, these sunsets will start at the end of 2023 for the UK and Ireland:


  • Vodafone: 31/12/2023
  • EE UK: 31/12/2024
  • Three UK: 31/12/2024
  • 02: 2025


  • Vodafone Ireland: 31/12/2023
  • Three Ireland: 31/12/2024

So why does this matter for your vending business? You may have heard that your current 3G-connected card readers will carry on past the network shutdowns. That they’ll just fall back on old 2G networks and operate as normal.

But relying on 2G networks runs a high risk of failing payments. 2G networks are not made for data transfers. They were made to transfer text messages. The likelihood that card readers will likely time out and cancel payment before payment is authorized is dangerously high.  

To ensure you don’t lose any sales with the upcoming 3G sunsets, you need to guarantee that your vending machines are up to date with 4G-connected card reader technology. Watch this clip from our recent virtual seminar to see our experts break down the 3G sunset and how to prepare: down the 3G sunset and how to prepare:

Why transition to 4G now?

4G networks are faster, more reliable, and provide a wider range of coverage. This will speed up your machine’s transaction times and improve data connection reliability.

Do you know which of your card readers will be affected by this year’s 3G sunsets? The first thing to do is to take an inventory of the devices that need upgrading. You’ll need to know the device, the network carrier, and region to determine when each device is anticipated to sunset.

You also need to understand the scope of the 3G sunsets effects on your network connections. Just because a network provider has indicated their shutdown won’t be happening until the end of 2024, doesn’t mean they aren’t taking 3G towers offline until then — so your devices could lose 3G connectivity at any time.

However, if any of your devices are relying on Vodafone’s network, time is running short to make device upgrades, since they will be the first to fully sunset their 3G network.

Plan your 4G upgrade.

If you have a large number of card readers to upgrade, you should understand the time that will take and the effect it will have on your business. For the sake of your sales, your rollout timeline should be realistic and strategic.

To complete a large deployment correctly the first time, you’ll need to lean on your team. And if you need help outside of your business, leverage Cantaloupe to make sure it gets done.

Our 4G-enabled card readers integrate seamlessly with your existing system and provide the security and reliability that you need. Plus, our dedicated customer success team is highly knowledgeable in installation processes and vending machines. We’ve worked closely with customers to install and test devices while training vending business owners and their teams in the installation process. And we’re ready to do the same for your operation.

If you’re a vending owner in the UK, now is the time to act. Secure the future of your business with Cantaloupe’s support.


Cantaloupe, Inc.

Cantaloupe, Inc. is a digital payments and software services company that provides end-to-end technology solutions for the self-service economy.

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