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31 July 2017

What you need to know

Like Telstra, Optus will shut off its 2G network August 1, with Vodafone to follow suit in September. Picture: Josep Lago

IF YOU’RE one of the few people still clinging to an old pre-smartphone era handset which operates on 2G, time is of the essence.

Tomorrow, Optus is shutting down the rest of its 2G network in NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT. The telco killed its 2G network in the Northern Territory and WA in April this year.

So if you still use an old phone like the much loved Nokia 3310 for your telephonic needs which connects to the telco’s 2G network, you will no longer be able to text, make or receive calls, or get onto the internet.

“3G Single Band (2100MHz) devices that also use 2G in certain areas of the network, will also lose mobile service in these areas” when the network is shutdown, Optus said.

There are currently only three mobile service providers operating in the country — although TPG has made moves to enter the market, making it particularly crowded.

However there are a large number of virtual network operators which offer mobile plans which piggyback on the networks of the big three.

For the Optus network, this includes providers like Amaysim, Vaya, Virgin Mobile, Coles Mobile, Barefoot Telecom, Bendigo Bank Telecom, Dodo, Exetel, Jeenee, OVO and Yomojo.

All of which will no longer be able to offer services on 2G.

Telstra customers had 2G services cut off on December 1, 2016. Meanwhile Vodafone customers (and customers of virtual providers using Vodafone’s network) have until the end of September, when the telco will become the last of the three providers to kill off 2G.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?

If your device can’t connect to 3G or 4G, there’s not really a whole lot you can do other than to be prepared to make the switch.

While your old-school device will become more or less useless, you can still play Snake on it. Other than that, you’ll need to back up any important information and start looking for a new phone.

If you have other 2G-enabled devices that might be relied on for crucial services like monitoring health, alerting emergency services or for security and fire alarms, you’ll need to contact the makers about likely replacements.

Optus says the 2G shutdown will help pave the way for emerging technologies like the highly touted 5G.

“As 2G capabilities become eclipsed by 3G and 4G network technologies, the closure will allow us to review options to reallocate some of this spectrum to improve customer experience and mobile services and also investigate emerging technologies such as 5G,” the company said in a statement last week.

“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,” Dennis Wong, Managing Director of Networks at Optus said.

The old 2G network is being turned off from today, heres what you need to know

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