3G Network Closure: What it Means for You and Your Customers

Is Your Phone Impacted by 3G Closure? Text "3G" to 3498 to confirm your phone's compatibility! Learn more in the videos below.

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Frequently Answered Questions

Why are Australia's 3G Networks closing?

As more advanced 4G and 5G network services become widespread, mobile carriers around the world are closing their 3G networks. 4G and 5G networks are more efficient at delivering greater speed and capacity, which means better service and experience. Similar network closures have happened before. A few years ago, all Australian mobile providers switched off their 2G networks when they upgraded to 4G.

What are the key dates of Australia’s 3G network closures?

Depending on what mobile network operator you are with, the following network closure dates have been confirmed: 

TPG Telecom/Vodafone will commence a gradual switch off its 3G network on December 15, 2023

Telstra will commence a gradual switch-off of its 3G network on August 31, 2024.

Optus will commence a gradual switch-off from its 3G network in September 2024.

What devices will be affected by Australia’s 3G network closures?

All 3G-only devices (including phones, tablets, and mobile broadband devices) and, in rare cases, some older 4G phones,will be affected.

Some older 4G phones that do not have a feature called ‘VoLTE (or ‘Voice over Long Term Evolution’) will be unable to make and receive voice calls. To determine if your device supports 4G VoLTE, contact the manufacturer or your service provider.

Will the 3G network closures only affect phones?

No. Devices such as tablets, mobile broadband modems, smart watches, some home security systems, and other connected devices might also be using 3G services.

Please contact your device manufacturer or relevant mobile network operator if you are unsure of the specific capabilities of your device.

Which devices will be affected?

Below is a list of the devices most likely to be affected by the 3G network closures. This is not an exhaustive list and is not inclusive of all phones (such as phones sourced independently). Please refer to your mobile network operator’s website to confirm if your device will be impacted:

  • Alcatel 2038
  • Alcatel OneTouch 2045
  • Apple iPhone 5
  • Apple iPhone 5C
  • Apple iPhone 5S
  • Aspera A42
  • Doro 6521
  • Doro PhoneEasy 623 OPTUS
  • Google Pixel 2 XL
  • Huawei E5251s-2
  • Huawei E5331
  • Huawei Y6 Prime
  • Nokia 301
  • Oppo A57
  • Oppo F1s
  • Oppo F5 Youth
  • Optus X Smart
  • Samsung Galaxy J1 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
  • ZTE Blade A0605
  • iPad Air
  • iPad Retina
  • iPad Mini Retina
  • iPad mini
  • iPad mini 3

Which other devices will be affected? 

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, many don’t support the main 4G mobile coverage frequency band (700 or 900 MHz). Once Australia’s 3G networks are shut down, these smartwatches will only work on a limited set of 4G spectrum bands, and as a result, they may experience a reduction in mobile network coverage.

You will still be able to use data or make voice calls using the cellular feature on your smartwatch, but the service may work intermittently. When your watch is connected to your mobile device via Bluetooth, your experience will be based on your device’s network capability. The versions impacted are:

  • Apple Watch Series 3
  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Galaxy Watch
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2

Affected devices include: 

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT devices that may be affected include:

  • EFTPOS terminals
  • Industrial routers
  • Scanners
  • Security monitoring
  • Telematics
  • Asset Tracking
  • Environment monitoring

Other affected devices: 

  • Medical alarms
  • Home security alarms/devices

What will the closure of Australia’s 3G networks mean for my business?

If you are an enterprise customer, please contact your mobile network operator for advice.

  • Some 3G EFTPOS terminals won’t be able to process transactions once Australia’s 3G networks are switched off.
  • If you’re concerned about your network coverage once your provider’s 3G network closes, please get in touch with your device provider.

What do I need to do if I have an affected device?

Most people do not have to do anything at all and will continue accessing 4G and 5G networks as they do today. A very small number of people who have 3G-only handsets, tablets,and connected devices will need to upgrade those devices before their mobile network operator switches off 3G.

Some older 4G handsets may also need replacing to be able to continue to make and receive voice calls using the 4G network. A very small proportion of 4G phones that support voice calls over 4G(VoLTE) do not support voice calls to emergency services over 4G and it is highly recommended that these be replaced.

How will I know if I’m impacted?

To check if your device will be affected, refer to your device manual or contact your mobile service provider or manufacturer via their website or by giving them a call. In technical terms, you’re looking to confirm:

  • If your device is reliant on 3G 900MHz spectrum for voice and/or data service.
  • If your device supports 4G VoLTE (including VoLTE emergency calling): 1. If you’re using your device to make and receive voice calls, then your device needs to support 4G VoLTE and have VoLTE enabled in your device settings as of September 2024. 2. To find out if your device supports 4G VoLTE, contact the manufacturer or your service provider.
  • If your device is compatible with the 4G 700 MHz (B28) spectrum. 1. L700 MHz is the low-band 4G spectrum used by Optus and some other providers for optimal 4G coverage.

Even recent device models that may have been purchased from other retailers or overseas may not be compatible with 4G 700MHz spectrum band and therefore, may also be impacted.

Will I be left without Triple Zero access?

The 3G networks will be closing in stages commencing December 15, 2023, and will be inactive by the end of September 2024. If your device is not upgraded to a 4G or 5G network-compatible device, it will mean that once Australia’s 3G networks are fully inactive by late 2024, you will no longer be able to make emergency calls to 000.

It’s important that you check with your device manufacturer to confirm if you will be impacted before these network closures. If 3G coverage is available from another operator, emergency calls may be able to be made, but there is no certainty about this as it will be subject to the behavior of the phone or device. It is recommended that you upgrade your phone or device to ensure access to emergency calls. There are many choices available across a range of prices and features.

What if I have a medical device or a security device?

If you’re currently using a personal medical device or security device that relies on the 3G (850/900 MHz) band, then it’ll stop working when the 3G networks close. We recommend you check with the device manufacturer and upgrade your affected device as soon as possible.

Will I need a new SIM card?

You may need a new SIM card when you upgrade your device. Many 3G 850/900MHz dependent devices use a mini/micro SIM and the majority of 4G devices require a nano SIM.

What do I do with my old 3G device?

The best way to recycle your old device is through MobileMuster, the Australian mobile industry’s official recycling scheme.

All end users who are using their service with a mobile that is impacted by the 3G closure will hear a short recorded voice announcement (RVA)  when they make an outgoing call, as a reminder that they need to act. You may receive an increase in support calls relating to the recorded voice announcement

We’ve compiled some potential responses that you may find useful.

Why is there a voice recording playing when I use my phone?

If you’re hearing a recording, it means you have a device that is either 3G only, does not support Voice over 4G (VoLTE), or is 4G enabled but hardwired to use 3G for Emergency calls. You will need to upgrade before the 3G closure to stay connected.

What does the recording say?

“When Telstra’s 3G network closes on 31 August it’s likely this phone won’t be able to make calls, including emergency calls. Contact your service provider for details”.

How do I make it stop?

The only way to make the recording stop is to upgrade your device to a compatible device.

How long will it take for the message to be removed once I upgrade?

It should be removed within minutes, but may take up to 24 hours for the database to refresh and update and for the message to be removed from the impacted service.

I need help to upgrade, who can help me?

We recommend you choose a new device from a reputable seller that serves the Australian market.

Why can’t you remove it for me now?

It cannot be removed until you’ve taken action and updated your device as it’s vitally important to ensure that you’re able to contact triple zero when we close the 3G network on 31 August.

Does this impact Triple Zero calls?

No, calls to triple zero will not have the recording played prior for obvious reasons.

We've identified some VoLTE Capable Handsets that cannot make Emergency calls (000/112/911) after 3G network closure.

We are writing to inform you about an important issue related to certain devices that are VoLTE (4G voice) capable and will not be able to make Emergency calls after the 3G network is closed.

As you are aware, our 3G network across Australia is scheduled to be closed on 31 August 2024.

We have identified certain devices used by your customers that are VoLTE (4G voice) capable but will be unable to make Emergency Calls (000/112/911) after the 3G network closure.

You need to inform your end users of this issue and ensure that they upgrade to a compatible device.


4G (LTE) network capabilities were introduced over several years. VoLTE (Voice over Long-Term Evolution) technology uses the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) to prioritise packetised voice traffic over other traffic types (data, streaming video) providing sharper and clearer call quality, faster connection times, and simultaneous voice and data services.

However, when VoLTE was initially introduced into 4G networks, the IMS was not equipped to handle emergency calls. Consequently, some handsets released between 2014 and 2019 can only route emergency calls over a 3G network.

This a global issue and Telstra has been in discussion with its industry counterparts and Government authorities (ACMA, Dept, Minister, ACCC) and industry associations (including AMTA) to address the topic.

Emergency Calling after the 3G exit

To make emergency calls after the 3G shutdown, devices must support VoLTE and VoLTE emergency calling. If a customer's device lacks VoLTE emergency calling capability, they will be unable to make emergency calls to Triple Zero (000/112/911) once all 3G networks in Australia are switched off.

Action Required by you

You must make all attempts to inform your end users and advise that they upgrade to a compatible device.

Potential wording for your End Users

We have some suggested wording that you can send to your end users:

1.  For Your Website

Emergency calling
In addition to supporting VoLTE, your mobile device must support VoLTE emergency calling to make an emergency call to 000 once your network operator has closed their 3G network. If your device does not support VoLTE emergency calling, you will not be able to make an emergency call to 000 once all the 3G networks in Australia are switched off.

If you have received advice from us that your phone does not support VoLTE emergency calling, you will need to upgrade your phone to be able to make an emergency call to 000.

Please do not “test” your phone's capabilities by calling 000. While any of the 3G networks in Australia are still active, your call will go through to 000, as all network operators are obliged to carry calls to 000 where possible. Thus, testing your phone while there is still an active 3G network (regardless of which network operator is operating the 3G network) may give you a false sense of security that your phone is working, when in reality, it may not support VoLTE emergency calling.
Please check our <MVNO> website for more information.

2.  SMS/email Suggested wording for End Users

We've identified that your device(s) listed below may not support VoLTE emergency calling. This means you won't be able to make emergency calls (000) with these devices on our network after the closure of Telstra's 3G network on August 31, 2024.

  • <device>
  • <device>
  • <device>

You will need to upgrade any listed handsets to a compatible 4G or 5G handset before this date. Learn more here.

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