Telstra has revealed plans to switch off its 3G data and voice services in June 2024 so it can use the spectrum for 5G services.
The network provider says the 3G switch-off is necessary to “use the spectrum it was carried on to boost the performance of newer and more efficient technology.”
In the meantime, it will upgrade its 4G coverage to “a materially equivalent size and reach to our 3G footprint”. It is assessing its product range and all areas that currently only have 3G coverage to provide the “best possible experience” on 4G and 5G.
That could mean a noticeable increase in data speeds for people using a compatible 4G device, who have only had access to 3G till now.
But it will also mean companies using 3G Internet of Things (IoT) devices may need to upgrade or replace those devices.
Telstra turned on its NEXTG 3G services in 2006, bringing greater reliability, coverage and speed to mobile data users. In 2016 it turned off its 2G GSM services, which had been operating for more than 20 years.
The carrier is now looking to 5G to enable applications such as virtual reality experiences, HD video conferencing and driverless cars. It has deployed 5G services in limited locations in 10 cities and plans to expand coverage to at least 35 cities in the next year.
Earlier this year, Vodafone announced it was converting some 3G spectrum (2100MHz) for 4G use.