Aussie telcos will be switching off their 2G networks this year

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.

Upgrade now

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

Sadly, the 2G shutdown is also why Australians won’t be able to relive the nostalgia of the good ol’ Nokia 3310 days with the brand-new 2017 version of the handset. 

But please don’t throw your old 2G mobile into the bin: e-waste is a huge problem facing the world today. Instead, find your local MobileMuster recycle drop-off point (which includes phone retailers as well) or mail it to MobileMuster directly. Australia Post has free post-back recycling satchels just for this.

If you need more information on how the decommissioning of the 2G network will affect you, head to Optus’ website where you’ll find details and FAQs to help you through the transition.

Vodafone customers will also receive all the help they need, as promised by Kevin Millroy, acting Chief Technology Officer at Vodafone Australia.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.