It’s been a part of phone service for decades, but all of Australia’s 3G networks will be turned off within a year.
The shutdown is set to begin in December of this year and will affect millions of devices across the country.
Here’s all you need to know about it.
When will the 3G network be decommissioned?
Beginning in December, Australia’s 3G networks will be phased down.
On December 15, Vodafone will be the first firm to turn off its network. Telstra will be the next to go, with all 3G services terminating on June 30, 2024, while Optus will be the last to go, in September 2024.
How many individuals will be affected by the shutdown?
While we don’t know how many people will be affected by the shutdown, an estimate earlier this year estimated the number of 3G-enabled devices in Australia at roughly 3 million, with the majority of them being older models that have been in use for at least five or six years.
After the shutdown, they will all be out of job.
Phones, eftpos machines, automobiles, tablets, and security cameras are examples.
It is anticipated that 200,000 of those gadgets have medical alarms, which is concerning.
“An elder or someone else with a vulnerability who is relying on that alarm for an emergency response simply won’t get one,” said David Waldie of medical alarm provider Eevi.
Some worry that turning down the 3G network may diminish cell coverage in rural regions that do not yet have access to 4G or 5G.
Telstra has stated that it would provide 4G coverage in all 3G regions before the shutdown. Optus’ website makes no such assurance, although Vodafone says its 4G coverage is “similar in size” to its 3G offering.
How can I tell whether my device is infected?
The simplest approach to determine whether a gadget you possess will be affected by the shutdown is to contact the manufacturer.
“Don’t put off checking that device, make sure you get to it as soon as possible to ensure you’re not caught out,” Tech Guide’s Stephen Fenech said.
You may also contact your phone carrier – Optus has released a list of its 20 most-used smartphones that will be affected, which includes the iPhone 5, 5C, and 5S, as well as the Google Pixel 2 XL and Samsung Galaxy S5.
Some organizations, such as Eevi, are reaching out to clients to ensure that they remain connected.
What should I do if my device is harmed?
To summarize, if you want to continue using phone and internet services, you’ll need to get a replacement that is compatible with 4G or 5G networks.
In some circumstances, upgrading your SIM card from a small or micro SIM to a nano SIM is all that is required, however in others, you may need to purchase an entirely new phone or other device.
Why is the 3G network going offline?
While 3G was formerly the mainstay of mobile coverage in Australia, it is currently utilized significantly less frequently as contemporary devices rely on faster 4G and 5G networks.
That implies phone companies are devoting a significant portion of their network to a service that is rarely utilized and will become increasingly irrelevant in the future.
By discontinuing 3G coverage, a provider such as Telstra or Optus can repurpose the radio frequency bands utilized for that network to improve and expand 4G or 5G coverage, a process known as “re-farming.”
“The demand for and consumption of data has been increasing exponentially,” Telstra’s Chris Taylor explained.
“That is why we need to transition our customers to 4G and 5G networks.”
Similar 3G shutdowns have occurred or been announced in the United Kingdom, the United States, and New Zealand.