Unsure if the 3G shutdown affects you? Text this number now to find out

Telstra 3G shutdown service
Image: supplied.

Australia’s biggest telcos are in the middle of phasing out 3G networks, which might have a bigger impact than first thought. Fortunately, there’s a simple method to help prepare you ahead of time, particularly if you’re a Telstra customer concerned about the 3G shutdown.

While Vodafone stopped providing 3G connectivity late last year, Optus and Telstra are yet to make the move. Telstra is due to cease 3G operations in June, followed by Optus in September.

However, the main concern is the move impacts more than just 3G phones. Some of the first phones equipped with 4G technology don’t support voice over LTE (VoLTE) emergency calling. These handsets rely on 3G when calling triple-0, meaning users won’t be able to contact emergency services after the shutdown.

As reported by the ABC, more than a million phones could be impacted. Initial estimates suggested the shutdown would affect roughly 740,000 devices. The latest advice to Communications Minister Michelle Rowland indicated a more widespread impact.

Telstra offers easy 3G shutdown test

To help clear up some of the confusion, Telstra has a quick and easy way to check if you need to upgrade your device before the 3G shutdown. If you’re with the telco, you can text ‘3’ to 3498 to receive a message confirming your phone’s status.

This service will tell you one of two things: either you need to upgrade to a compatible phone, or your existing device will work fine. Optus doesn’t have a similar service yet, instead directing customers to its support website. Telstra also has a dedicated webpage for all things related to the 3G shutdown.

Telstra 3G SMS check
Image: Telstra.

Given the potential widespread impact, a delay to the network shutdown is a possibility. A working group including Australia’s biggest telcos will report to Minister Rowland fortnightly to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Some of the known devices affected include Apple’s iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy S6, and older models. If in doubt, check with your telco so you’re not caught out.

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