3G Shutdown in Australia: Why, When, and What You Must Do to Prepare

Australia’s three major mobile networks – Telstra, Optus, and TPG/Vodafone – are decommissioning their 3G networks in favour of the more advanced 4G and 5G technologies. The era of 3G is coming to an end, and it’s crucial to prepare for this transition.

Why are 3G Networks Being Shut Down?

Spectrum Efficiency: Mobile networks operate on a licensed radio spectrum, which is a finite resource. Over time, newer technologies like 4G and 5G have proven to be more efficient, offering better coverage and higher data throughput compared to older 3G networks.

Technological Advancements: Just as Australia phased out 2G networks in 2016/2017, 3G is now becoming obsolete. 4G and 5G networks provide significantly faster speeds and greater capacity. To understand this, think of mobile networks like roadways – 3G might be a 40kph zone, while 4G and 5G are akin to 110kph and 500kph zones respectively. By retiring 3G, telecom providers can allocate this spectrum to faster, more reliable services.

Improved Services: Modern networks carry voice calls over data using VoLTE (Voice over LTE). Upgrading to 4G and 5G ensures better call quality and more reliable service.

When Will 3G Networks Shut Down in Australia?

TPG/Vodafone: The 3G network was decommissioned in December 2023. This affects customers using brands like TPG, Vodafone, Kogan Mobile, Felix Mobile, and Lebara.

Telstra: Initially set to shut down 3G by the end of June 2024, Telstra has extended this to the end of August 2024. This extension is to provide more time for customers with older phones to transition. Telstra offers an SMS service to check if your device needs an upgrade – text ‘3’ to 3498 for a status update.

Optus: Scheduled to turn off its 3G network in September 2024. This impacts users of brands such as amaysim, Circles.Life, Dodo, Moose Mobile, Aussie Broadband, SpinTel, and Yomojo.

What You Must Do to Prepare

  1. Check Your Device: Ensure your mobile phone supports 4G or 5G. Devices relying solely on 3G will cease to function for calls and mobile data once the network shuts down.
  2. Upgrade If Necessary: If your phone is 3G-only or defaults to 3G for calls, you will need a new device. Affordable 4G phones are available for under $100, while basic 5G models start around $250.
  3. Contact Your Provider: For specific advice and support, reach out to your mobile network provider. They can confirm whether your device is compatible and provide options for upgrading.
  4. Consider Other Devices: If you have other 3G-dependent devices like medical alarms or industrial equipment, these will also need upgrading to 4G-compatible versions.
  5. Monitor Coverage: If you live or work in an area currently covered by 3G, monitor your mobile coverage as the shutdown approaches. Providers aim to offer at least equivalent, if not better, coverage with their 4G and 5G networks.

Need Assistance?

If the 3G shutdown affects you and you need help setting up a new phone, Mobile Computer Geeks can assist. We can transfer your contacts and messages, set up apps and accounts, back up data, and more. Contact us today to ensure a smooth transition.

Final Thoughts

The transition from 3G to 4G and 5G is a necessary step to improve mobile network performance in Australia. While it might require some adjustments, the benefits of faster speeds and better service quality are well worth it. Stay informed, upgrade your devices as needed, and enjoy the enhanced mobile experience that 4G and 5G networks offer.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information, always check with your telco directly.

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