Telstra 3G shutdown pushed back as people slow to upgrade

Telstra 3G deadline extended
Image: supplied.

Australians now have a bit more time to upgrade older phones, after Telstra announced an extended deadline for its 3G network shutdown.

Previously set to cease operations on 30 June, the telco’s 3G network will now continue until 31 August. Telstra networks executive Channa Seneviratne told ABC News that some customers still “need more time to upgrade”.

It’s despite the 3G shutdown first being announced in 2019 to focus on the faster 4G and 5G technologies. Vodafone shut off its 3G network last year, while Optus is set to switch off 3G in September.

More than 200,000 Telstra customers currently use phones not compatible with 4G and 5G networks, including some older 4G handsets without VoLTE technology. Impacted customers won’t be able to call emergency services using older phones, hence the urgent messaging.

According to Telstra, it’s not just phones affected by the 3G shutdown. EFTPOS machines, farming equipment, and even medical devices could also lose network access. For anyone unsure about whether they need to upgrade, there’s a number to text that provides a clear yes or no response.

Telstra 3G shutdown efforts ramp up

Stressing the importance of retaining network access following the 3G network shutdown, Telstra is stepping up its efforts. Customers using older handsets will soon hear a pre-recorded message when making calls. Acting as a reminder to upgrade, the message will play before every call until the phone is upgraded.

Some of the impacted devices include big-brand phones like the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S6. Replacement phones don’t need to cost much, with Motorola’s Moto G04 and the Aspera Nitro 2 costing less than $200 each.

So, as a reminder: the deadline for Telstra’s 3G network shutdown is now 31 August 2024. If you haven’t yet upgraded to a 4G-compatible phone, now’s the time to do it. And when you stop using your old handset, make sure you recycle it via a program like MobileMuster.

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