Australia’s 3G Networks Set to Shut Down: What You Need to Know

Telecom giant Vodafone will be the first company to switch off its 3G network, starting on December 15. 

Following suit, Telstra will conclude its 3G services on June 30, 2024, while Optus is scheduled to be the last to shut down its 3G network in September 2024.

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In Australia, approximately three million devices are reliant on 3G networks, including older phones, eftpos machines, cars, tablets, and security cameras. 

Alarmingly, an estimated 200,000 of these devices are medical alarms, potentially impacting emergency responses for vulnerable individuals.

Vodafone has reassured that the 3G network currently carries less than one percent of its total mobile data traffic.

“We publicly announced the closure of our 3G network in September 2022 to provide 14 months’ notice and plenty of support for our customers to prepare for the move to superior mobile technologies,” the Vodafone spokesperson said.

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“The 3G switch-off will impact a small number of our customers who have 3G-only devices or non-VoLTE devices. Our priority through this process is to ensure they have a 4G or 5G compatible device so they can continue using our network.”

Users are recommended to contact the device manufacturer or their phone provider. Vodafone and Optus have actively communicated with their customers about the shutdown and provided guidance on upgrading devices.

For those with 3G-only devices or non-VoLTE devices, upgrading to a 4G or 5G compatible device is necessary to continue using the network. 

Phone providers, such as Vodafone, have increased staff in retail stores and contact centres to assist customers with the transition.

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