Goodbye 2G: Optus has announced August 1 as the end date of its staggered 2G network shut down.
If you're an Optus user in New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, or Tasmania, you'll lose access to all 2G services from next month. Optus has already shut off 2G in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, killing off the network in April of this year.
Optus first established its nationwide 2G network in 1993, but the rise of faster, data-driven alternatives in 3G and 4G has seen the service dwindle in the last few years. The decision to shut down Optus 2G was originally announced in August of 2015, with major rival Telstra killing off its own 2G service last December (and Vodafone planning to end 2G this September).
The death of 2G not only affects Optus subscribers: it extends to telcos using wholesale Optus services, such as Virgin Mobile, iiNet, Vaya, and amaysim (you can find a full list here). So if you're on any phone plan that utilises Optus, your service will now be limited to 3G or 4G technologies.
I'm with Optus! What should I do?
For most Australians, the death of 2G isn't a noticeable loss. Most of us use 3G and 4G almost exclusively, with 2G more of a 'last resort' in times of, or in areas with, inadequate 3G and 4G coverage.
To avoid a loss of service, Optus network customers still using 2G or 3G Single Band devices are advised to switch to a 3G Dual Band or 4G smartphone. This may apply to you if your phone is quite old, or if it only ever shows '2G', 'Edge', 'E' or 'GPRS' connections in the screen's top left hand corner; if you're unsure, speak to Optus or your current telco.
If you've got an older 2G or 3G Single Band handset you no longer need, you can recycle your device - and any accessories - through the enironmentally friendly (and free!) Mobile Muster program: simply drop your unwanted phone off at any Optus store.
Finally, if you're in the market for a 3G or 4G-capable phone for your Optus plan, click here to start your search.
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