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Australian Telco’s Shutting Down the 3G Network

Australian Telco’s like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone are shutting down the 3G Network after almost 20 years of service.

It is the third (3) generation (G) of the Wireless Telecommunications Technology Network. The Mobile Network uses Electro-Magnetic Frequency (EMF) Waves to transmit information.

The telco’s have decided to re-use , or in the business, “re-farm” the frequencies used by the 3G Network, into the later Generations, 4 and 5G. Both Telstra and Optus have stated they will continue to improve and provide more coverage for their 4G and 5G Networks so people are not left in the dark.

When will they shut down?

Telstra plan to have 3G shutdown by the end of June 2024.

Optus say 3G will cease from September 2024.

Vodafone are the quickest to shut down with a date set for 15th of December 2023.

What does this mean for me?

For many, your device is already capable of 4G, and in recent cases, newer devices are 5G capable.

However, as Optus noted, they will be notifying customers if they believe their customers are going to be impacted by the shutdown.

While there are likely small amounts of users of the 3G Network, there will still be those affected and will need to highly consider upgrading devices to 4G or even 5G capable devices.

Mobiles are not the only affected devices, it will also include Mobile Network enabled Tablets and even rural/farm devices that may utilise communications via 3G.

Telstra note:

“Customers using 3G mobile, IoT and network extension devices, some EFTPOS machines, medical devices and antennas that operate on the 3G network only will be able to continue using their device or antenna until 30th June 2024. After this date, if the device has not been updated to be 4G or 5G compatible, it will no longer work.”

Optus have listed the top 20 common devices that need upgrading, including:

  • Alcatel 2038
  • Alcatel OneTouch 2045
  • Apple iPhone 5
  • Apple iPhone 5C
  • Apple iPhone 5S
  • Aspera A42
  • Doro 6521
  • Doro PhoneEasy 623 OPTUS
  • Google Pixel 2 XL
  • Huawei E5251s-2
  • Huawei E5331
  • Huawei Y6 Prime
  • Nokia 301
  • Oppo A57
  • Oppo F1s
  • Oppo F5 Youth
  • Optus X Smart
  • Samsung Galaxy J1 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
  • ZTE Blade A0605

Another aspect of the shutdown is regarding older 4G, devices that does not support Voice over Long Term Evolution or VoLTE. Your device may be 4G compatible, but may not have VoLTE, which means that you may likely still be impacted by the shutdown, although as noted by Optus, you can still access Data and use Text Messages (SMS/MMS).

The shutdown should also not stop you from calling Emergency Services (000).

Older devices may also use older SIM Cards, which means when you upgrade, you will need to move your number to a new SIM that is compatible with your new device, normally a Nano-SIM.
You also have the option to use an e-SIM, or Electronic SIM. e-SIMs are SIMs that are embedded into your device, rather having a separate “card” installed. That way, you can use the built-in SIM to access the Mobile Network. We suggest you research the Pros and Cons to see whether or not e-SIM fits your needs.

Of course, if you are in doubt, it is best to head to your Provider or give them a call and ask them whether or not you will be affected, that way you can get sorted before any headaches occur.