With all the talk of 5G this year, it was just a matter of time before someone decided to pull the plug on 3G.
And it looks like Telstra will be the first telco off the rank.
Telstra has announced it will be switching off its 3G technology in June 2024 to free up the spectrum for extra 5G bandwidth, as well as improve its current 4G offering.
Telstra's 3G network has been in operation since 2006. By the time it shuts down it will have been serving Australians for over eighteen years.
"Between now and then we’ll be upgrading and expanding our 4G coverage to a materially equivalent size and reach to our 3G footprint. Most customers will generally notice an improvement in speed when using a compatible device – in many cases a substantial one. We are working to assess our product range and all current areas with 3G only coverage in order to give you the best possible experience on 4G and 5G" the telco said in a blog post.
"As an early adopter and pioneer of 5G, we are on the cusp of the latest mobile technology worldwide. To help continue enhancing the network, it will eventually mean our older network technology will need to be switched off, so the spectrum that is used to carry data and voice calls over our oldest mobile network technology can be repurposed to help grow 5G."
Telstra already phased out its 2100MHz spectrum earlier this year, this is the first time the telco has announced when it would close the 850MHz spectrum and thus its entire 3G network.
Considering how often my phone reverts to 3G in situations such as on public transport, let's hope that redistributing the spectrum for 5G and upgraded 4G will result in a faster network that's more capable to handle LTE congestion.
The last time the telco shut down a network was in 2016 with the closure of its 2G network. There was far less lead time on the implementation of that decision, with it only being announced in 2014. This time around Australians have over four years to prepare.