Optus will start switching off its 2G mobile network from April 2017 and Vodafone's 2G network will turn off in September 2017. Telstra already shut down its 2G mobile network at the end of 2016.
The Optus 2G network in WA and NT will switch off on 3 April 2017 and in SA, QLD, VIC, NSW, TAS and ACT it will switch off on 1 August 2017.
Most 2G customers will need to either upgrade their SIM or handset to continue to receive service. Contact your service provider to find out what your options are.
While some customers may be happy to upgrade to smartphone, others may prefer to stick with a more straightforward phone just for text and voice. Service providers have a wide range of handsets available and can help affected customers decide what would suit them best.
If you do decide to upgrade to a smartphone - make sure you do your research first to work out what phone and plan will best suit your needs. MobileTips has tips about how to choose the best plan for you before you buy a mobile.
Information for Optus (also Virgin Mobile and Amaysim) customers:
Optus will shut down its 2G network from April 2017 - with networks in WA and NT will switching off on 3 April 2017 and in SA, QLD, VIC, NSW, TAS and ACT networks will switch off on 1 August 2017 . After the 2G network is switched off you will not be able to use 2G devices on the Optus mobile network. Optus has also advised customers that 2G Single Band devices also use the 2G network in certain areas, so if you have a 3G Single Band device and are outside the coverage area of the Optus 3G 2100 MHz network, you will also lose mobile service in those areas after 1 April 2017.
Optus has said:
“To make way for newer technologies such as our 4G Plus Network, we eventually need to close down older network technologies like 2G. That means we're able to focus and invest in technology that offers better services for our customers now and into the future."
Who will be affected?
Customers using the Optus 2G network will be affected - including any Virgin Mobile and Amaysim customers using 2G or 3G Single Band devices.
If you have a 2G device you will see a 2G, GPRS, EDGE or E icon at the top right hand corner of your mobile screen (next to the signal strength bars). Some 2G devices may be older and you will not have the 2G icon - these phones are generally talk and text only.
If you see a 3G, H+, 4G or LTE on your phone's screen then your phone is compatible with 3G/4G and you do not need to be concerned.
3G Single Band phones will show "3G: when in Optus' 2100 MHz coverage areas but will fall back to 2G outside of these coverage areas. And customers with these devices will lose that 2G coverage when the network shuts down. These customers may want to change to a 3G dual band (3G 2100 MHz/3G 900 MHz) or 4G device to improve their coverage options.
What do I need to do?
If you're using a 2G or 3G Single Band (2100 MHz) device and want to retain your service/coverage you will need to upgrade to a 3G Dual band (3G 2100 MHz/900 MHz) or 4G device. You can check Optus coverage and find out more about how to upgrade at the Optus website here.
Information for Vodafone customers:
Vodafone has said that its 2G network will shut down on 30 September 2017 and has advised customer that they won't be able to make or receive calls (including emergency calls), texts or use data on the 2G network once the network is switched off.
Vodafone customers have until 20 September to upgrade to a 3G or 4G device.
If you always see an "E", "Edge" or "GPRS" symbol in the top right corner of your phone's screen you are probably using a 2G SIM in a 3G/4G device. If you can't see any symbol, you are probably using a 2G device.
Vodafone advise that upgrading is easy and they have plenty of compatible devices and plans available.
Vodafone is also hosting a series of workshops for Seniors to assist them with the switch to a 3G/4G device with information on:
- Setting up the basics such as font size, wallpaper, and voicemail
- Ensuring you have all the tools you need to keep in touch with friends and family who live overseas
- How to manage your mobile usage
- How to back up your phone
- Security tips and tricks.
You can find out more about the workshops and how to upgrade your device at Vodafone's website here.
What to do with your old 2G mobiles?
Customers can recycle their old mobile phones through the industry's MobileMuster program.
MobileMuster is a free mobile phone recycling program that accepts all brands and types of mobile phones, plus their batteries, chargers and accessories. There are over are over 3,500 drop-off points around Australia for customers to recycle including all of the major phone retailers, alongside a free post back recycling satchel available from any Australia Post. For more information on how to recycle visit mobilemuster.com.au