Australian mobile network operator Optus has revealed that it will close its 2G GSM network from 1 April 2017. In a press release, the cellco said the move was being made as consumers increasingly use more data, with the switch-off expected to open up options for Optus to reallocate some of the spectrum currently used for its 2G services. In addition, the operator said that 2G now constitutes just ‘a fraction’ of its total mobile network traffic, with this figure ‘declining significantly year on year’. Having inaugurated its GSM infrastructure all the way back in 1993, Optus has confirmed that when the closure of the network takes place those customers still using 2G-only handsets and plans will be required to upgrade to either a 3G or 4G alternative. Further, it has noted that mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Virgin Mobile Australia, along with other Optus Wholesale service providers currently using the GSM network such as amaysim, will also be affected by the development.
Commenting on the network closure plans, Dennis Wong, acting managing director at Optus Networks, was cited as saying: ‘Our priority is to prepare our customers for this change and ensure they have sufficient time to upgrade to newer devices. Optus will provide affected customers with more details about options available to them closer to the closure of our 2G network in April 2017. For some customers this might be a simple SIM upgrade.’