Optus has announced it will switch off its 2G network across Australia on 1 August 2017.
After shutting down its 2G services in the Northern Territory and Western Australia in April, Optus will completely shut down the services across all remaining states and territories.
Virgin Mobile and Optus Wholesale service providers using the 2G GSM network will also be affected.
According to Optus, 2G capabilities have been overshadowed by 3G and 4G and closing 2G will allow the telco to review options to re-allocate some of this spectrum to improve customer experience and mobile services and also investigate emerging technologies such as 5G.
“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,” Optus managing director of networks, Dennis Wong, said.
The 2G mobile network users have significantly decreased since its inception in 1993. According to Wong, users are drawn by the advances of 4G technologies and faster speeds.
“This was the right time for us to close the 2G network,” Wong said.
Optus offered further details to 2G users, clarifying that even though the service will no longer be available, the number and account details will remain with Optus unless users choose to cancel the service.
The closure of the 2G network will also affect 3G Single Band users outside the coverage of Optus’ 3G 2100 MHz network.
Customers using 2G devices will have to switch devices.
Vodafone announced plans to shut down its 2G network last year. The legacy network is expected to be closed on 20 September 2017.
At the time of the announcement, the telco revealed total data traffic on Vodafone’s 4G network was 76 per cent, in contrast with its 2G traffic, which was 0.07 per cent.
Telstra, which already switched off its 2G network on 1 December 2016, has already started to plan the shutdown of its 3G network, which is expected to happen sometime in 2020.