Telstra Announces 3G Shutdown in Australia

Digital Matter

Telstra has announced it will be shutting down its 3G network in Australia by mid-2024. The telco will reuse the 3G spectrum for their 5G network, and existing customers will be migrated to 4G and 5G.

But I Thought I Already Saw Something About Telstra Shutting off 3G?

In April of 2019, Telstra shut off the 2100MHz band of their 3G service in order to provide extra capacity on their 4G network. However, the 850MHz band is still in operation, and most 3G devices, including our 3G Device Range, utilize this band for communication.

So while this announcement may have been a surprise or caused some undue panic, it did not impact Digital Matter 3G devices as they can use the 850MHz band, and seamlessly switched across in April.

I Have 3G Devices, What Does This Mean to me?

If you are using a Telstra SIM card, your device will stop working in mid-2024. Other Australian networks, such as Vodafone and Optus, have not announced plans to shut down their 3G networks. If the 2G shutdown is anything to go by, they may continue to operate for some period after Telstra shuts down their network. Hence, Telstra SIM cards could possibly be swapped for Optus or Vodafone SIMs, and devices can continue to operate.

However, given the complexity of physically getting to a device and accessing its installed location to change the SIM, upgrading the device to a 4G future-proofed unit is the more cost-effective and logical solution.

Over the last 12 months, we have supplied only 4G Cat-M1 devices in Australia, knowing the 3G networks here would eventually be switched off in lieu of updated cellular technologies. Only legacy devices will be affected. Telstra’s shutdown isn’t planned for another five years, which leaves ample time to upgrade your devices.

Digital Matter Devices and Future Networks

Whilst an official date has not been announced until now, given the emergence of 4G and 5G networks, a 3G shutdown was expected.

We released our first 4G Cat-M1/NB-IoT device, the G62, in August 2018, and now boast a range of 8 Cat-M1/NB-IoT, with 2 more on the way this month!

The clear benefits of this technology, in addition to looming global 3G shutdowns, was a key driver in moving to 4G in 2018. 4G Cat-M1 and NB-IoT networks are specifically designed with tracking and IoT in mind (small, infrequent messages) and feature:

  • 1/2 to 1/3 the power consumption of a 3G modem when performing a data upload
  • Lower cost than 3G modems
  • Improved range and penetration into buildings and basements
  • Competitive data bundles being rolled out by networks

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