An article written by QFF Corporate Partner Telstra
We’re evolving our mobile network to ensure you always have the best possible experience. This means that on 30 June 2024, we’re switching off our 3G network. Our 4G and 5G networks will be available instead and offer an improved experience.
Some of your devices – including handsets, medical devices, IoT devices on farms and machinery as well as EFTPOS machines – may need to be updated or replaced ahead of next year’s closure to ensure ongoing service.
We’re here to help you with the change and answer any questions you may have.
Here are some commonly asked questions about the 3G Closure:
Why is Telstra closing their 3G network?
We are not closing our network until the 30th of June 2024. When 3G launched in 2006 we used our mobile phones for calls, texting and accessing basic information online.
Today, demand for mobile data is growing by around 30 percent each year. As our technology and use cases change, you need a network that’s fit for today and the future.
Once we have closed the 3G network, we will repurpose the spectrum so that we can use it to expand our 5G network. By making this change, our customers will enjoy a much better overall experience.
We started talking to our customers about saying goodbye to 3G back in October 2019, almost five years ago, to make sure that they had enough time to understand what changes they need to make.
We are upgrading areas that only have 3G coverage to ensure these areas have the same or better 4G coverage available by 30th June 2024.
What will happen to my NGWL service?
Several thousand active Next G Wireless Link Service (NGWL) services use 3G technology and will be migrated to a 4G solution before June 2024. Telstra expects most of these customers will migrate to a 4G fixed wireless solution using the third generation of our Smart Modem (with an antennae port for connections to an external aerial). We plan to start migrating NGWL customers this year and customers who already have an external antenna will most likely be able to use it with their new 4G FW solution.
Will you match your existing 3G coverage with 4G before you switch off 3G?
Yes, we are working hard to upgrade areas to ensure that you will have the same or better 4G coverage before the 3G network is switched off.
Will my network experience go backwards from 3G when it moves to 4G coverage?
Your network experience should improve, and in most cases, you’ll notice a substantial improvement in speeds when you move from 3G only coverage to 4G coverage. Our 4G service accesses greater bandwidths and is more efficient than 3G, leading to higher end user speeds.
The speed you experience is determined by a range of factors including how close you are to a tower, how much traffic the site is carrying, if there’s any obstructions impeding the network (i.e. buildings, hills, vegetation etc.) and what sort of device you’re using. If you have any questions or require assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask a team member at your local Telstra store, or Telstra dealer or contact us.
Will the 3G network be closed at one point or will it be a phased approach (geographically)?
While it’s not quite as simple as flicking a switch, the closure will commence from 1st July 2024 and is likely to happen relatively quickly. We will confirm our closure schedule close to the closure date, but there will be no loss of 3G coverage prior to 30th June 2024.
After 30th June 2024, can you guarantee I will have 4G coverage in a location that currently only has a 3G signal?
If you currently only receive 3G coverage, we’re committed to providing you with 4G coverage prior to the closure of the 3G network.
What does this mean for the Mobile Black Spot Program? How many of those mobile base stations are affected by this decision?
All mobile base stations built under the first four rounds of the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program have 3G and 4G coverage. The 4G network will continue to operate in these areas, even after we have closed the 3G network. We stopped including 3G in our MBSP proposals from Round 5 onwards given our 2019 announcement to exit this technology.
Why do you need to repurpose 3G spectrum for 5G?
There is only so much spectrum available for use and repurposing our 3G spectrum to supplement our 5G coverage will enable us to provide a better experience for our customers. Traffic on our 3G network has declined significantly and continues to do so as we modernise our network with newer and better technologies.
What does closure of the 3G network mean for me?
If you have a device that is only able to connect to 3G, that device will no longer be able to connect after the closure date. You will need to upgrade your device before 30th June 2024.
This includes customers using 3G mobile, IoT and network extension devices, some EFTPOS machines and antennas that operate on the 3G network only. These customers will be able to continue using their device or antenna until 30th June 2024, but after this date, if the device has not been updated to be 4G or 5G compatible, it will no longer work.
Are any other Telcos closing their 3G network?
Yes, both Vodafone and Optus have announced they will be closing their 3G network too. For more details check in with the relevant carrier.
More commonly asked questions can be found on our Telstra.com page