Optus says it will complete its scheduled shutdown of its 2G network across Australia next week on August 1, with 2G services across QLD, NSW, ACT, VIC, SA and TAS to be turned off.
This is the second and final phase of the shutdown following 2G services being turned off across NT and WA in April. Optus has been planning the switchoff since August 2015.
Virgin Mobile and Optus Wholesale service providers using Optus’ 2G network will also be affected by the switchoff.
As 2G become eclipsed by 3G and 4G usage, the closure will allow Optus to review options to re-allocate some of its 2G spectrum to improve the 3G/4G customer experience and mobile services, as well as investigate possible uses for 5G, said Dennis Wong, Managing Director of Networks at Optus.
“Our priority throughout this process has been to ensure our 2G customers are prepared for this change and have the right level of support to allow for a smooth transition to our 3G and 4G services.”
Wong added that now is “the right time for us to close the 2G network”, after some 25 years of service.
“Our customer levels using the 2G mobile network have significantly decreased as greater smartphone usage and advances in 4G technologies drive customer preferences for mobile data and faster speeds,” Wong said.
Optus is the second cellco in Australia to turn off 2G. Telstra completed its 2G shutdown in December last year. Vodafone Hutchison Australia is scheduled to commence its 2G shutdown in September.
2G reportedly accounts for around 1% of mobile traffic in Australia. At the end of last year, after the Telstra switchoff, there were an estimated 250,000 Optus and Vodafone subscribers still using 2G. All cellcos, as well as the Australia Mobile Telecommunications Association, have been getting the word out advising 2G users whether they’ll be affected and what to do about it.