The phasing out of 3G will mean certain phones will have to be upgraded, according to Newstalk Tech Correspondent Jess Kelly.
In the United Kingdom, Vodafone has announced plans to turn off their 3G network, with similar plans rolling out in Ireland.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Jess said turning off the 3G network will allow more space on the “connectivity spectrum” for 4G and 5G.
“When you see your phone, whether it is 2G, 3G, 4G 5G, that's all using the spectrum,” she said.
“There's limited spectrum available and as the networks look to upgrade to 5G and eventually to 6G and beyond, they need the space on the spectrum to be able to facilitate all the customers.
“Over the next while 3G will disappear, you won't see it on your phone again and then we'll be able to connect to the higher networks.”
Jess said there is growing concern that certain groups will have to upgrade their phones to access the new 4G and 5G networks.
“Typically, it's older people or those who are on lower incomes that would still have devices that are not 4G or 5G enabled,” she said.
“So, you may not have realised it but if you've upgraded your phone over the last number of years, it's automatically 4G and 5G enabled.
“If you haven't upgraded your phone in quite a while, or if you have no interest in getting a phone that can connect to 5G, you will notice an impact in this.
“The networks, as I understand it, are letting people know that this change is coming … I've heard of some very sound initiatives to help people upgrade so whether that is a free upgrade, or a discounted upgrade to get a newer phone.”
Jess said the plans to phase out 3G will not tackle the issue of “black spots” across the country where users cannot access any service.
“If you look at the connectivity map of Ireland and if you put it in different Eircodes, you will see that there are parts of the country where they're black spots, never mind 3G,” she said.
Jess said for those who can access 3G, phone providers will inform them in advance of the switchover to 4G.
“If you are someone that's impacted by this in the different regions, you will receive a text from the mobile network to let you know,” she said.
“This rollout started in Limerick here in Ireland and is going to go across all of the networks, so just keep an eye out for the alerts to let you know if you have been impacted.”
Vodafone customers can find out more about the upgrade from 3G at vodafone.ie.