3G Network Shutdown in Australia – What it Means for You
It’s truly the end of an era — after providing coverage for decades, Australia’s 3G networks are shutting down.
The 3G coverage network was first rolled out in 2003, providing data and network speeds across Australia that were previously unheard of. But in 2023 and beyond, the majority of devices used by Australians (and globally) rely instead upon its successors: 4G, 4G-IoT, 4G-VoLTE and 5G; the new modern standards for network technology. Subsequently, the 3G network will begin shutting down in December of 2023, and major telcos will be switching off their networks over the subsequent months, with the shutdown to be completed by June 2024. While a lot of us do now rely on 4G, 4G-IoT, 4G-VoLTE and 5G coverage, the 3G shutdown is expected to impact millions of users and devices across Australia. If you’re one of the Australians still reliant on the old 3G network, you may be wondering how the 3G shutdown will affect you. In this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about the Australian 3G network shutdown, how it may impact your home or business, and how you can safely migrate your devices across.
When Will 3G be Turned Off in Australia?
It was bound to happen eventually – this isn’t the first time an entire network was shut down in favour of new, more advanced technology. Back in 2018, the 2G network was shut down in favour of 3G.
As Telstra regional general manager Michael Marom said: “It’s time to say goodbye to 3G and welcome in a better 4G network & 5G network.”
Our long-standing 3G networks will shut down over the next year, beginning in December of 2023.
The first major telco to shut their 3G service network will be Vodafone, on December 15, 2023. They will be followed by Telstra and Optus in 2024.
Below is the current timeline for the 3G network service closure in Australia, as announced by the three major Australian telcos:
Vodafone: 15th December 2023
- In 2019, Vodafone shut down 3G connectivity across its 2100MHz spectrum.
- Their 900MHz spectrum is still operating
- All 3G connections will be shut down on December 15 2023
Telstra: 30th June 2024
- All Telstra 3G connectivity across the 2100 MHz spectrum closed on March 25, 2019.
- Telstra devices on the 850MHz spectrum are still functional.
- Telstra will close all 3G services by June 30, 2024.
Optus: September 2024
- Optus has closed its 2100MHz 3G services.
- They still offer 3G connectivity on the 900MHz spectrum.
- Optus will close the rest of its 3G network by September 2024.
Who Will Be Affected by the 3G Network Shutdown?
While many of us are no longer reliant on the 3G network, some 3 million Australian devices are. These older devices, such as mobile phones that do not support VoLTE, GPS Tracking devices, EFTPOS machines that do not support WiFi, tablets ( that don’t have WiFi ), dashcams, telemetry devices, vending machines, and security cameras, will stop working after the shutdown.
Major companies like Telstra have stated that if your device is not upgraded and the network settings are not changed, you won’t be able to use these services to make or receive calls or to send or receive text messages.
Why is the 3G network Shutting Down?
‘Out with the old, in with the new’ may be a cliche, but that’s essentially what all this boils down to.
While 3G was the only notable pillar of mobile coverage in Australia for many years, newer devices have relied on the superior 4G, 4G-IoT, 4G-VoLTE and 5G networks for quite some time now. The 4G-IoT and 4G-IoT NB networks are designed for telemetry devices, vending machines, security systems, tracking systems, electricity meters, and water meters as a cost-effective network for low bandwidth data devices with 4G-VoLTE devices such as handheld phones designed for making & receiving calls, sending & receiving text messages on the 4G network. The 5G network will also support the IoT devices so companies who require monitoring systems will have a longer lifespan.
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