As movement towards 5G from Australia’s telecoms carriers develops, industry leaders are discussing when the 3G network will be shut down.
Both Telstra and Vodafone have begun to remove parts of their 3G networks, but neither carrier has confirmed specific dates for total removal and/or re-farming of the spectrum.
In addition, Optus has not provided intended shutdown dates or commenced any works to upgrade or re-farm their 3G network.
Telstra were previously utilising the 850 MHZ and 2100MHz spectrums for 3G connectivity, but have now completely shut down and re-farmed their 2100MHz spectrum (as of April 2019). For now, the 850MHz spectrum is still in use. Telstra have advised it is likely that the 3G service will remain until at least 2020, after which time “full or partial geographic closure may occur…but would be unlikely before 2022.” No specific end date has been given, but Telstra have stated they will “provide a reasonable notice period of any shutdown activities”.
Vodafone is continuing its 3G service on the 900MHz spectrum for now, but has already commenced upgrade work on the 2100MHz spectrum.
If you are currently running 3G 2100MHz-only compatible devices on Telstra, you will most likely find they no longer connect now that 2100MHz has been re-farmed. Telstra have specified that all new IoT/M2M cellular capable devices must support 4G-LTE/VoLTE and will not accept 3G only devices into the M2M/IoT Certification Program moving forward.
Telstra and Vodafone have provided lists of devices (purchased directly from carriers) likely to be affected by the shutdown. Use the PDF and web links below to confirm whether your devices will be affected.
Alternatively, you can check the top left or top right-hand corner of your device. If it displays only shows “3G” or “HSPDA” it’s most likely 3G-only.
Carriers are advising customers to consider migrating straight to 4G/LTE where possible. To see more detail on this topic view our newsletter from June 2018: https://www.m2mone.com.au/m2m-one-june-2018-newsletter/