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Goodbye 3G: Australia’s top carriers shut down 3G networks

    The largest players in the Australian telecommunications market are starting to turn off 3G networks.

    Telstra, Optus and Vodafone – Australia’s three largest telecommunications companies – have announced the phasing out of their third generation (3G) networks.

    Vodafone will be the first mobile operator to completely shut down 3G on the Australian continent. This is expected to happen on December 15, 2023. After this date, Vodafone subscribers will no longer be able to use the 3G network for mobile calls and data transfers.

    “The 3G shutdown is a strategic decision that underscores the company’s commitment to streamline and focus its resources on more advanced network technologies , ” Vodafone said in a statement.

    Following Vodafone, Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunications operator, will do the same. The company will stop providing 3G services by June 30, 2024, in line with its ongoing efforts to improve network performance and provide users with advanced communication standards.

    “In the next year we will stop using 3G. This means that after the specified date, subscribers should ensure that their devices are compatible with more modern communication standards, such as 4G and 5G , ” explains Telstra on its official website.

    Provider Optus will be the last of the Big Three to phase out 3G. The company plans to maintain its 3G networks until September 2024, but will gradually move to more modern technologies.

    “In light of the rapid development of technology, the subscriber base is increasingly moving to more modern communication standards, so the use of 3G is gradually giving way to more advanced technologies. This circumstance was a key factor in the decision to shut down our 3G network. In addition, an important point is the release of a valuable frequency resource that was previously used for 3G. This gives us the opportunity to reallocate this resource to the improvement and expansion of the 4G network, which will directly improve the quality of service for our subscribers. The decision to abandon 3G also has a long-term value for the introduction of 5G technology , ” says the instruction addressed to Optus subscribers.

    Third generation networks were launched in Australia in 2003. Now, two decades after the deployment of such networks, their life cycle has come to its natural end. 3G networks have provided data and mobile communications for many years, but with the development of technology, this standard has begun to become obsolete.

    However, according to TelcoNews, between two and three million devices in Australia today continue to depend on 3G networks. These devices are not compatible with more modern communication standards, and can only work in third generation networks.

    There are only three main mobile phone providers in Australia – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. There are also small mobile operators, but they all launch their services on the basis of the Big Three networks. Telstra has the widest coverage, covering 99.5% of Australia’s population centers.