The 3G apocalypse – what it means & how to survive

25 January 2023


Just as was the case with 2G, all major Australian telecommunication networks are in the process of phasing out the use of 3G. The main reason for decommissioning the 3G networks is to free up significant quantities of the licensed spectrum for the faster and more efficient 4G and 5G network infrastructure.

This is a brief article to help you prepare so the transition can be smooth. At present Telstra is the only network to officially announce an end date to their use of 3G – 30 June 2024. Vodafone and Optus have not specifically set an end date, but are both slowly replacing 3G with 5G in the spectrum.

Who will be affected?

3G-only Internet of Things (IoT) devices will not work, and non-4G voice calling enabled 4G devices will not be able to make voice calls after the shutdown. The IoT applications that will be at risk are:

• Environmental monitoring systems (with remote telemetry units)
• Road and traffic monitoring systems
• Alarm monitoring
• Building management systems
• Pumping stations
• Tank level monitoring
• Meter reading
• Eftpos machines
• Vending
• Cathodic protection systems

How to prepare?

A large percentage of IoT devices are only compatible with 3G, meaning they will, unfortunately, be rendered useless next year. Such devices will need to be upgraded to 4G or 5G connectivity. Alternatively, other avenues could be considered such as satellite communications, or unlicensed protocols such as LoRa. Check your device hardware and upgrade if necessary. Please reach out to our team for expert advice on smoothly transitioning from 3G by completing the enquiry form below.