Check your phone before we close 3G

We are closing our 3G network around Australia on 30 June 2024. We’ve been saying this for nearly five years, but it is getting close to crunch time.
Sri Amirthalingam · 14 March 2024 · 8 minute read

Update: we're keeping our 3G network running until 31 August 2024.

Some older 4G phones will not be capable of making emergency calls and connecting to Triple Zero when 3G shuts off. 

If you’re not sure, we want you to check your phone. 

Some 4G phones do not have an important feature called VoLTE emergency calling. This feature enables Triple Zero calls in Australia to travel over 4G, using its more modern standards. These phones may support 4G or 5G data, but rely on 3G to call emergency services and Triple Zero. 

If you have a 2019 phone or newer (less than four years old), it likely supports the VoLTE emergency calling standard, provided you bought it from a reputable Australian retailer. We have a list of known compatible devices on Telstra.com.

Every handset and Wi-Fi enabled tablet that Telstra has launched also supports VoLTE Emergency Calls. 

However, there are thousands of different variants of different phones out there. They are built with different mobile network support, to suit the different needs of providers all around the world. These phones can vary in specification and software version from Australian-delivered models.

If your phone was purchased overseas and brought here personally or otherwise outside of a manufacturer’s official channels - it is hard for us to identify whether it is VoLTE emergency calling capable. It is also possible that some of these devices may have been sold by Australian retailers, including online stores.

Because of that, we want you to check your phone if you are at all unsure whether it is new enough to support VoLTE emergency calling. It will give you peace of mind that in an emergency, your phone will be capable of connecting to Triple Zero.

Please do not test your phone by calling 000. It will not be an accurate test while any Australian operators have 3G network towers in operation, and you should only ever call 000 in an emergency.

 

Here’s what we want you to do

Any customer with a phone manufactured prior to 2019 (more than four years old) should:

  • check their device manual,
  • visit their device manufacturer’s website,
  • contact the retailer that sold the handset,
  • or visit one of our stores for assistance.

As a general guide, your device manual or manufacturer should be able to tell you whether your specific device supports VoLTE Emergency Calling.

 

We are contacting customers we can identify

We are contacting customers we have been able to identify as affected by this issue, to let them know they need to check their device and will likely need to upgrade. We’re working with the government, ACMA and the other mobile network operators to do this. 

Unfortunately, as this is an industry wide issue there will be customers with impacted devices that we’re not able to contact, as BYO and grey import devices are harder for us to identify.

FAQ

  • Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say precisely given the vast variety of devices in the market. 

  • We do know customers with devices older than 2019, sourced from overseas markets, are more susceptible to this issue and encourage them to check their device capabilities and settings, and if unsure, upgrade their devices before 30 June to be able to make Triple Zero calls. 

  • Voice over LTE (Voice over Long Term Evolution) is the international standard all mobile networks use to carry voice calls over 4G networks. 

  • In addition to having VoLTE capability, it is also important your device supports, and is configured to use, VoLTE emergency calling. This is an additional capability beyond plain VoLTE capability.

  • We have more information on VoLTE's capabilities on Telstra.com.

  • We have been able to identify some devices which we are confident are impacted, and you will receive a message from us letting you know of your device’s limited capabilities.

  • Some other devices may be impacted, but we are unable to ascertain which ones as they are BYO device and/or an imported device. Impacted devices are typically devices manufactured prior to 2019, and are more likely to be sourced from overseas, although some have been sold by Australian retailers (including on-line Australian retailers) as well.

  • To assist our customers, we have published a list of devices that we know will work once all the 3G networks in Australia are shut down (i.e., devices we know support VoLTE emergency calling).  

  • No, as we will no longer have 3G mobile coverage from 30th June 2024.

  • Mobile devices have special roaming capabilities when calling Triple Zero (000). In instances where another carrier has 3G coverage, you may still be able to make a 000 call. However, it’s important to note that other carriers are likewise closing their 3G network in similar timeframes to Telstra.

  • We strongly encourage all customers to ensure that they have a 4G/5G VoLTE capable and compatible device before 30th June 2024. We also have more information about enabling VoLTE (Voice over LTE) on your mobile phone.

Please visit your local Telstra store or contact us and we’ll work with you to find a suitable solution.

By Sri Amirthalingam

Commercial Engineering Executive

Sri leads investment strategy, technology roadmap, and planning and construction for Telstra's fixed and mobile networks. Sri has worked for Telstra for more than 25 years, predominantly in wireless networks and has helped build and run Telstra’s AMPS, GSM, CDMA, 3G, and LTE networks.