Telstra has announced that its 2G network will be shutdown at the end of 2016, putting an end to a two-decade legacy, but freeing up important spectrum for new uses.
According to a post on Telstra’s Exchange blog, 2G phone traffic only accounts for 1% of the total network traffic, and it is likely 2G is only used in remote locations only.
Telstra’s 2G network operates on the 900MHz frequency, which is a desirable band for long-range performance. Freeing up Telstra’s portion of this frequency band gives the telco a chance to use the spectrum for modern technologies, known as refarming, which is great news for customers. This is process we’ve already seen begin in Australia, with competitor Optus already starting the process of refarming 2G coverage on the 900MHz band to 3G Plus coverage.
What, me worry?
While the announcement is exciting for tech-loving early adopters, there is a chance the 2G network shutdown will negatively impact on some of Telstra’s customers who have managed to stick with an older 2G-only phone for calling and messaging.
If this affects you, or someone you know, you need to check out whether your phone is actually 3G-capable. Telstra says that it hasn’t sold a 2G-only phone since 2006, so there is a good chance that your phone is ready for the switch-over.
You might need a new SIM card, though. This is a simple process for Telstra staff, and it should only take a couple of minutes in a Telstra shop to prepare a SIM card replacement, so it would be worth your while popping into a store if you’re concerned.