Vodafone Hutchison Australia will shut down its legacy 2G network next year, with the company revealing that it now carries around two per cent of its total voice traffic and less than one per cent of its data traffic.
As at 14 September 2016, total data traffic on Vodafone’s 4G network was 76 per cent, in contrast with its 2G traffic, which was 0.07 per cent, the company said.
Vodafone’s decision to decommission its GSM network on 30 September 2017, follows similar moves by Telstra and Optus, which announced they would shutter their 2G networks by the end of 2016 and mid-2017, respectively.
Vodafone’s acting Chief Technology Officer, Kevin Millroy, said the company is starting a year-long campaign to move remaining 2G customers off the legacy network, which was launched in 1993, and on to its other 3G and 4G networks.
“We want to be totally upfront and transparent with our customers by giving them advance notice of the closure of our 2G network late next year," Millroy said.
"We will work closely with our 2G customers to ensure this transition is as simple as possible."
According to the telco, more than 600,000 customers have ceased using its 2G services since January 2013, which has helped clear up some bandwidth for the company to repurpose some its 2G spectrum for 4G services.
While most Vodafone customers have transitioned to 3G and 4G services on their own, Millroy suggests that Vodafone customers who may still be using 2G handsets on the legacy network have the opportunity to upgrade to 3G or 4G phone.
“There has been a natural drop-off of 2G traffic as 4G smartphones have become more affordable,” Millroy said. “This has led to many customers upgrading their phones of their own accord.
“By taking a step up to a new 4G or 3G phone, customers can enjoy better coverage and call quality, and can also take advantage of capabilities such as video calling, mobile email and social media on some devices,” he said.
According to Millroy, the proposed shuttering of the 2G network is part of the telco’s long-term plan to free up more of its available spectrum for changes in consumption patterns and evolving network requirements.
“With the Internet of Things (IoT) on our doorstep, it is paramount we manage spectrum efficiently and reallocate capacity to our more advanced networks to help more of our customers have a better experience,” he said.