The three big Australian telcos announced last year that they will begin switching off their 2G networks, with Telstra being the first one to do so in December 2016.
It’s now the turn of Optus, and the company will begin the process on 3 April with Northern Territory and Western Australia losing 2G connectivity first. The other states – New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and ACT – will suffer the same fate on 1 August 2017.
Similarly, Vodafone will be decommissioning its 2G service on 30 September this year.
Once this happens, customers on the old network will lose mobile service and will need to either migrate to a new 3G or 4G plan or upgrade their handset.
The Optus 2G shutdown will also affect Virgin Mobile and Amaysim customers using 2G or 3G Single Band devices, as these resellers piggyback on Optus' network.
If you happen to be one of these customers, you’ll need to get a 3G Dual Band or 4G-enabled handset.
If you aren’t sure what your phone supports, check to see if you can spot a 2G, GPRS, EDGE or E icon at the top right hand corner of your mobile’s display. This means you’ll soon lose service. On the other hand, if you see a 3G, H+, 4G or LTE on your phone's screen, it’s 3G/4G-compatible.
In case you do need a new handset, the telco of your choice will be able to help you choose a device if you already haven’t decided on one.
So long, old friend
But please don’t throw your old 2G mobile into the bin: e-waste is a huge problem facing the world today. Instead, (which includes phone retailers as well) or mail it to MobileMuster directly. Australia Post has free post-back recycling satchels just for this.