We’re helping our customers say goodbye to 3G

We’re giving some customers complimentary handsets to ensure they stay connected after the 3G network closure on 31 August 2024.
Marty McGrath · 18 June 2024 · 5 minute read

From today, we will be providing around 12,000 complimentary mobile devices for some of our customers who are in difficult situations, live rurally or are elderly. These are customers who may need some external support transition when the 3G network closes, to ensure they’re able to stay connected after the 3G closure on 31 August.

These customers are in difficult situations, and facing things such as financial hardship, or recovering from a natural disaster. Some of these customers also depend on a working phone because they are living with a life-threatening medical condition (our ‘Priority Assistance’ customers). Many of these customers are also over 80 years old and living in regional areas, which can make visiting our stores challenging. 



Major Brendan Nottle from The Salvation Army said, ”This initiative will benefit the most vulnerable members of our community. Connection is one of the most important things to maintain in our society, whether it is with friends and family or with housing and support services.

“Ensuring that every Australian, from any background or level of income, can take part in our modern digital society is crucial. A phone can be a gateway to social inclusion, community connection and support, and with the upcoming closure of 3G networks in Australia it is important for us to reach out and ensure that this can continue for everyone.”

While the majority of customers still using 3G devices are aware and able to take action, we wanted to make sure we’re taking extra care of those who need an extra hand ahead of the upcoming transition.


How do I know if I’ll get a new handset from Telstra?

We will be communicating with eligible customers in the coming weeks to let them know a device is on its way. All they have to do is follow the instructions in their package to switch to their new phone on the 4G network.

What do I need to do?

There are around 156,000 customers across consumer and small business that we're communicating with to let them know that they have a handset that is either 3G only, does not support Voice over 4G (VoLTE), has 4G coverage limitations, or is 4G enabled but hardwired to use 3G for Emergency calls, and that they need to upgrade before the 3G closure to stay connected.

If you are in this group, you’ll currently hear a pre-recorded message when making an outgoing call on your mobile phone, reminding you to upgrade. 

If you are one of these customers, please don’t ignore it. It is there to remind you that your phone won’t work after 31 August, and you should act now before the network closes. 

How do I check my phone?

Any new phone you buy from us will work on 4G and 5G networks.

You can SMS 3 to 3498 (3GXT) to check your phone, and if you have any questions - or if you have received any communication from us and are still unsure - please contact us online, on the phone, or in person.

Upgrading doesn’t have to cost a lot

Not all devices are created equal but there are many handsets available that will work once we say goodbye to 3G. 

You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to update your handset, and there are many affordable options available. Take the time to consider what you’ll be using your device for before you upgrade and find one that suits your needs. 

If you live regionally, we recommend you consider a Blue Tick device, which is a mark that we give phones we’ve tested that deliver superior voice coverage in rural and regional areas.

If you want a touchscreen smartphone, the Telstra T-Essential is $79. If you want a phone with number buttons, the Telstra T-Lite is $59. Here's a full list of our Pre-Paid phones with upfront, outright pricing.


Helping you when times are tough 

Whatever your situation, we will work with you to find a solution that is right for you. If you would like to discuss options or make a request for payment assistance, our team is here to help. 

We have a range of payment assistance support options available, including:  

  • Giving you more time to pay or a tailored payment plan

  • Other options, including those that can keep you connected

For more information, see our Payment Assistance Policy or access it via the Payments tab in the My Telstra app.

By Marty McGrath

Consumer Segment Executive - Telstra

Marty is an experienced senior executive who has worked in the telecommunications and finance industry for over 15 years.

Marty is currently leading Telstra’s consumer segment with accountability for all products, marketing and promotional activity.

Prior to this role, Marty led Telstra’s digital transformation program, accountable for the simplification of all retail products, delivering end to end digital experiences for customers and agents and the deployment of a new technology ecosystem for our retail business.