Goodbye 3G

Community Manager Community Manager
Community Manager

We will be switching off 3G in mid-2024. While this is still a while away, we’re making the announcement now so our customers have plenty of time to change to newer devices if they have a 3G only device, or a 4G device that doesn’t have Voice over LTE (VoLTE) capability.


We launched 3G in 2005 and it was cutting edge technology at the time. We now offer our customers extensive 4G coverage which provides vastly better data speeds and improved customer experience for streaming sport and entertainment and using graphics and video rich social media platforms. We have now also launched the next generation of mobile technology 5G which will bring advancements in mobile gaming, virtual reality experiences, HD video conferencing and other applications not yet even contemplated.

As customers increasingly move from 3G to take up the benefits of newer technology we will be repurposing the 850MHz spectrum, currently used to provide 3G coverage, to support our 5G rollout. This will let us grow and improve our delivery of next generation 5G technology.


 +  Coverage

  • For our customers in a 3G only coverage area, we plan to establish 4G coverage in all 3G only areas by the time of 3G closure. The new 4G coverage will be similar in size and reach as pre-existing 3G coverage.   


Want to know more about devices?

 +  General

  • You can research your device specifications online to check if any of your devices are affected.

    If you have a device that is only able to connect to 3G, that device will no longer be able to connect after the closure date in 2024, and therefore you will need to upgrade your device. If you have brought your own (BYO) device to use on the Telstra Mobile Network, we will do our best to help you upgrade to 4G mobile technology or LTE-M/NB-IoT where relevant for IoT use cases.

    If you have a device that can connect by 4G, it should continue to keep working post closure unless the device does not support Voice over LTE ( VoLTE). If you have one of these devices you will be able to access data but not make a phone call.

    If your 4G phone has voice calling capability, you can find instructions for how to enable it here.


 +  Prepaid Mobile

  • 3G closure will not affect your prepaid recharge or phone plans.

  • As at October 2019, we have the below impacted devices in market:

    • Telstra Lite - This a 3G only capable device, that will not be able to make calls or data after the network closure.

    • Telstra Flip 2 - This is a 4GX capable device, however, it does not support Voice over LTE (VOLTE). All voice calls operate on the 3G Network. This device will not be able to make voice calls after the network closure, however, they can still use data.

    • Telstra EasyCall 4 - This a 3G only capable device, that will not be able to make calls or data after the network closure.

    • Alcatel U5 3G - This a 3G only capable device, that will not be able to make calls or data after the network closure.
    • Boost Alcatel U3 3G - This a 3G only capable device, that will not be able to make calls or data after the network closure. 


  • If you have recently bought a prepaid device that will be impacted by the 3G closure, please be aware it will be compatible with the Telstra mobile network until we close the service in mid-2024.

    If you have further questions, please contact us on 24x7Chat.


 +  Tablets

  • As at October 2019, we have the below impacted tablet in market:

    • Telstra Essentials Tablet - This is a 4G capable device, however, it does not support Voice over LTE (VOLTE). All voice calls operate on the 3G Network. This device will not be able to make voice or receive voice calls after the network closure, however, the device can still use data.


 +  Wearables

  • The current generation of smartwatches has a cellular feature which allows the watch to operate in standalone mode. This means you can make and receive calls or use data using the smartwatch without having to carry a smartphone.

    While these watches are 4G compatible, they do not support our main 4G mobile coverage frequency band (700 MHz, also known as band 28). Once we turn off 3G in 2024, these smart watches will only work on a limited set of 4G spectrum bands, and as a result, may experience a reduction in Telstra mobile network coverage.

    So what does this mean for you?
    Essentially, you’ll still be able to use data or make voice calls using the cellular feature on your smartwatch, but the service may work intermittently on our mobile network. When your watch is connected to your mobile handset via Bluetooth, your experience will be based on your handset’s network capability.

  • The versions impacted are:

    • Apple Watch Series 3 38mm
    • Apple Watch Series 3 42mm
    • Apple Watch Series 4 40mm
    • Apple Watch Series 4 44mm
    • Apple Watch Series 5 40mm
    • Apple Watch Series 5 44mm
    • Galaxy Watch 46mm
    • Galaxy Watch 42mm
    • Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 - 40mm
    • Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 - 44mm

  • You can also check your device manual or search online to find out what network capability they support.


 +  IOT

  • If you have recently invested in 3G IOT devices, please note; There are still four and a half years before these devices will no longer be able to connect to the mobile network.

    Where deployed devices have an expected lifetime beyond the planned 3G closure date we will work with you to plan for the replacement of your devices and in a manner consistent with any specific contractual obligations we have with you and with the Australian Consumer Law.

    Telstra has a broad range of 4G devices already certified and available. We suggest you speak to your Telstra representative to discuss what is right for you.

    Device manufacturers are already adopting these modules into their devices, and as of July 2019, Telstra has certified 4G devices in the following areas, with other applications expected to follow in the next 12-24 months:

    • Eftpos terminals
    • Industrial routers
    • Scanners
    • Security Monitoring
    • Telematics
    • Asset Tracking
    • Environment Monitoring


  • Please contact your device manufacturer or Telstra representative for more information.

    We expect that most typical IoT use cases (devices) will have a 4G LTE or LPWAN migration solution within the next 24 months.

    We are unable to comment on the timings for individual device manufacturers. However, we are confident that manufacturers that do not currently have compatible devices, will have compatible devices available well before the 3G closure date.


 +  Home Internet

  • You will not see any impact on your fixed home internet services.

Was this helpful?

  • Yes it was, thank you
  • No, I still need help
Level 11: Detective

One would hope that this decision spurs an all out effort to improve 4G coverage. One bar is about the best you'll do in the southern suburbs of Perth. If there's no 3G without any improvement in 4G you're effectively cutting off a million or so people.

Level 24: Supreme Being
Level 24: Supreme Being

I guess it is going to be the same as the 2G cut off. Once they announced it they put the resources into getting the coverage to impacted areas with things like the 4G small call towers. I know between Adelaide and Melbourne, and Melbourne to Sydney going both hume and princes there is very few blackspots. I think I agree though, it now seems to be metro that they need to focus on upgrading and I know a lot of these areas will end up with 5G, just hopefully paired with 4G towers as well. 

Just Registered

I have 3gb and my understanding it will change end of June 2020

Level 24: Supreme Being
Level 24: Supreme Being

This post is referring to the 3G network. If you have 3GB of data that may indeed expire or change before then. 

Level 5: Eagle Eye

I am not happy at this stage with 3G being turned off as 4G does not have anywhere close to the coverage 3G has.  Hopefully this will change over the next couple of years.

As for people saying they can't afford a new phone / don't have a job.  How do you pay for your use on your existing service?

If you set aside $10 a week for even just one year that is $520.  That is plenty to get you a new 4G compatible handset.

I heard all the same arguments when 2G was turned off, yet everyone migrated quite fine when that happened.

My main concern is coverage right now.  3G had better coverage than 2G at the time closure was announced.  4G doesn't have that.

Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity

@Brendan75 They have given much more notice for the 3G closure. That should allow time for the upgrades to take place. If you notice areas that only have 3G coverage in 2 years time, then I would suggest lodging coverage reports so that they can be highlighted. 

Level 1: Cadet

I would like more then 1 bar of coverage of 4G before you turn of my 3 bars of 3G. 

Level 1: Cadet

Telstra has shocking NBN customer service, do not use Telstra they sold it all to the government and they dont care about their customers anymore, go with another provider for your NBN service and mobile phone.

Just Registered

(deep breath) Thanks for the update, as you might be aware, traveling on a Queensland Rail Train north of Brisbane City (inclusive of all tunnels one might go through) will ultimately result in a drop of 4G reception, into 3G and then into nothingness. If you aren't aware of this, then please check with your complaint's team because I've pretty much complained about this for the last 4 years.


So having read the news that you will be filling in gaps in the 3G service, replacing it with 4G, I can only assume that this means that where we drop out of 4G into 3G (along the entire route northbound between Roma Street and Petrie stations) you will be undertaking a massive overhaul of the 4G network in order to improve that situation? If upgrades are not considered in this area, then how are you going to deal with the thousands of commuters who travel on the train each day and will soon pass through a 30km dead-zone whilst still being inside the CBD and inner suburbs of Brisbane?