Australia’s dominant wireless, fixed line and broadband provider Telstra has announced plans to shutter its 3G network for voice and data services in June 2024, freeing up spectrum for its new 5G services which are currently in deployment. In an internal blog post, Nikos Katinakis revealed: ‘As we grow our mobile network around Australia and upgrade it with the latest technology, we occasionally come to a point where it is necessary to say goodbye to older technology, and to use the spectrum it was carried on to boost the performance of newer and more efficient technology … Today, as part of our program to continually upgrade our network to the latest technology and expand our 4G and 5G coverage, we’re announcing the eventual switch-off of our 3G technology.’
Having given its subscribers more than four years to adapt to the changes, Telstra confirmed it will upgrade its 4G coverage to ‘a materially equivalent size and reach to our 3G footprint’. It is also assessing its product range and all areas that currently only have 3G coverage to provide the ‘best possible experience’ on 4G and 5G – the last-named of which is now available in ten cities around Australia, with a further 25 to be enabled over the next twelve months.
Telstra first introduced 3G services in 2006 under the branding ‘NEXTG’ but has since seen the technology eclipsed by more advanced fourth-generation alternatives. It switched off its 2G GSM services in December 2016 to free up spectrum bandwidth for 4G.