3G closure - what do I need to know?
We’ll be switching off 3G in mid-2024
For most of our customers no action will be required as most modern phones are already 4G capable, meaning they will continue to work on the upgraded network as before. If, however, you have a 3G only device or a 4G device that doesn’t support 4G voice or 4G 700MHz capability you will need to upgrade your device.
What does this mean for you and your services?
Next generation in mobile technology
As customers move from 3G to take up the benefits of newer technology, we’ll be repurposing the 850MHz spectrum, currently used to provide 3G coverage, to support our 5G rollout.
The 3G closure will let us grow and improve our delivery of next generation 5G technology - helping us provide a better service to our customers.
Other devices and services affected
3G closure will not affect your Pre-Paid recharge or phone plans. As at October 2019, we have the below impacted devices in market:
- Telstra Lite: This is a 3G only capable device and will not be able to make calls or use data after the network closure.
- Telstra Flip 2: This is a 4GX capable device, however, it doesn’t support voice over LTE (VOLTE). All voice calls operate on the 3G network. This device will not be able to make voice calls after the network closure, however, it can still use data.
- Telstra EasyCall 4: This is a 3G only capable device and will not be able to make calls or use data after the network closure.
- Alcatel U5 3G: This is a 3G only capable device and will not be able to make calls or use data after the network closure.
- Boost Alcatel U3 3G: This is a 3G only capable device and will not be able to make calls or use data after the network closure.
If you’ve recently bought a Pre-Paid device that will be impacted by the 3G closure, please be aware it’ll be compatible with the Telstra mobile network until we close the service in mid-2024.
If you have further questions, please contact us.
As of October 2019, we have the below impacted tablet in market:
Telstra Essentials Tablet: This is a 4G capable device, however, it doesn’t support voice over LTE (VOLTE). All voice calls operate on the 3G network. This device will not be able to make voice calls after the network closure, however, it can still use data.
If you have recently invested in 3G Internet of Things (IOT) devices, please note; there’s over 4 years before these devices will no longer be able to connect to the mobile network.
Where deployed devices have an expected lifetime beyond the planned 3G closure date, we’ll work with you to plan for the replacement of your devices in a manner consistent with any specific contractual obligations we have with you and with Australian Consumer Law.
Telstra has a broad range of 4G devices already certified and available. We suggest you speak to your Telstra representative to discuss what’s right for you.
Device manufacturers are already adopting these modules into their devices, and as of July 2019, Telstra has certified 4G devices in the following areas, with other applications expected to follow in the next 12-24 months:
- EFTPOS terminals
- Industrial routers
- Security monitoring
- Asset Tracking
- Environment monitoring
Please contact your device manufacturer or Telstra representative for more information.
We expect that most typical IoT use cases (devices) will have a 4G LTE or LPWAN migration solution within the next 24 months.
We’re unable to comment on the timings for individual device manufacturers. However, we’re confident that manufacturers that don’t currently have compatible devices, will have compatible devices available well before the 3G closure date.
The current generation of smartwatches has a cellular feature which allows the watch to operate in standalone mode. This means you can make and receive calls or use data using the smartwatch without having to carry a smartphone.
While these watches are 4G compatible, they don’t support our main 4G mobile coverage frequency band (700 MHz, also known as band 28). Once we turn off 3G in 2024, these smartwatches will only work on a limited set of 4G spectrum bands, and as a result, may experience a reduction in Telstra mobile network coverage.
Essentially, you’ll still be able to use data or make voice calls using the cellular feature on your smartwatch, but the service may work intermittently on our mobile network. When your watch is connected to your mobile handset via bluetooth, your experience will be based on your handset’s network capability.
The versions impacted are:
- Apple Watch Series 3 38mm
- Apple Watch Series 3 42mm
- Apple Watch Series 4 40mm
- Apple Watch Series 4 44mm
- Apple Watch Series 5 40mm
- Apple Watch Series 5 44mm
- Galaxy Watch 46mm
- Galaxy Watch 42mm
- Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 - 40mm
- Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 - 44mm
You can also check your device manual or search online to find out what network capability they support.
How can I check my device network carrier settings?
You may have received a message to check your settings.
By default, your device network settings would have likely been set to ‘automatic’ meaning your device will automatically search for an available and compatible network. In some cases though devices may have been locked to a band and/or network - for example our 3G network using 850 MHz spectrum.
If you experience difficulties using your device after mid-2024 (i.e. making or receiving calls or sending and receiving SMS messages), we recommend you check your mobile network settings to stay connected, by following the instructions below or those provided by your device manual.
To ensure your mobile service continues without interruption, all you'll need to do is check that your device network setting is set to ‘automatic’. If not, you'll need to update your settings. For most popular devices, please follow these steps to check and update your device network settings.
- Tap Settings
- Tap Mobile
- Go to Mobile Data options
- Go to Voice and Data
- Ensure 4G is selected
- Tap Settings
- Tap Network and internet
- Tap Mobile Network
- Tap Preferred network type
- Select 4G
What will happen if my device is affected and I don't take any action?
Your current device will continue to operate until we disconnect 3G in mid-2024. If you don’t upgrade your device or change the network settings (if applicable) before this disconnection, then you’ll no longer be able to use your service from this device.
To continue being able to use your service, we recommend that you upgrade to a 4G-compatible device.
Will I be able to make emergency 000 calls and will my medical alarms and life critical services still work?
If your device isn’t compatible with our 4G network, you won’t be able to make an emergency call to 000 on the Telstra mobile network.
You might be able to make an emergency call to 000 if:
- Another mobile service provider has 3G coverage in your location; AND
- Your device is compatible with that network
If you’re using a device to monitor health such as medical alarms, security or other remote safety situations, and they’re currently using the 3G 2100 MHz layer, they’ll stop working in mid-2024.
We recommend you check for compatibility on accompanying paperwork from the manufacturer, and/or contact the provider of these devices to upgrade now.
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