3G Network Shutdown in Australia – What it Means for You


It’s truly the end of an era — after providing coverage for decades, Australia’s 3G networks are shutting down.

The 3G coverage network was first rolled out in 2003, providing data and network speeds across Australia that were previously unheard of. But in 2023 and beyond, the majority of devices used by Australians (and globally) rely instead upon its successors: 4G, 4G-IoT and 5G; the new modern standards for network technology. Subsequently, the 3G network will begin shutting down in December of this year, and major telcos will be switching off their networks over the subsequent months, with the shutdown to be completed by June 2024. While a lot of us do now rely on 4G, 4G-IoT and 5G coverage, the 3G shutdown is expected to impact millions of users and devices across Australia. If you’re one of the Australians still reliant on the 3G network, you may be wondering how the 3G shutdown will affect you. In this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about the Australian 3G network shutdown, how it may impact your home or business, and how you can safely migrate your devices across.

When Will 3G be Turned Off in Australia?

It was bound to happen eventually – this isn’t the first time an entire network was shut down in favour of new, more advanced technology. Back in 2018, the 2G network was shut down in favour of 3G.

As Telstra regional general manager Michael Marom said: “It’s time to say goodbye to 3G and welcome in a better 4G network.”

Our long-standing 3G networks will shut down over the next year, beginning in December of 2023.

The first major telco to shut their 3G service network will be Vodafone, on December 15, 2023. They will be followed by Telstra and Optus in 2024.

Below is the current timeline for the 3G network service closure in Australia, as announced by the three major Australian telcos:

Vodafone: 15th December 2023

      • In 2019, Vodafone shut down 3G connectivity across its 2100MHz spectrum.
      • Their 900MHz spectrum is still operating
      • All 3G connections will be shut down on December 15 2023

Telstra: 30th June 2024

(Please note that all Netstar tracking devices use the Telstra network)

      • All Telstra 3G connectivity across the 2100 MHz spectrum closed on March 25, 2019.
      • Telstra devices on the 850MHz spectrum are still functional.
      • Telstra will close all 3G services on June 30, 2024.


Optus: September 2024

      • Optus has closed its 2100MHz 3G services.
      • They still offer 3G connectivity on the 900MHz spectrum.
      • Optus will close the rest of its 3G network in September 2024.


Who Will Be Affected by the 3G Network Shutdown?

While many of us are no longer reliant on the 3G network, some 3 million Australian devices are. These older devices, such as mobile phones, GPS Tracking devices, EFTPOS machines, tablets, dashcams, telemetry devices, vending machines, and security cameras, will stop working after the shutdown.

Major companies like Telstra have stated that if your device is not upgraded and the network settings are not changed, you won’t be able to use these services.

Here’s why this is somewhat of a big deal:

      • Devices not compatible with a 4G and 4G-IoT network when the closure hits will result in tracking devices no longer tracking your assets.
      • This will add safety and financial risks to your business and employees

So, in order to safely and conveniently continue using your tracking devices upgrading to a 4G-compatible device as soon as you can to ensure you’re not caught out in a tough situation.


Why is the 3G network Shutting Down?

Out with the old, in with the new’ may be a cliche, but that’s essentially what all this boils down to.

While 3G was the only notable pillar of mobile coverage in Australia for many years, newer devices have relied on the superior 4G, 4G-IoT and 5G networks for quite some time now. The 4G-IoT and 4G-IoT NB networks are designed for telemetry devices, vending machines, security systems, tracking systems, electricity meters and water meters as a cost-effective network for low bandwidth data devices. The 5G network will also support the IoT devices so companies who require monitoring systems will have a longer lifespan.

With two newer and faster networks to maintain, phone providers aren’t going to devote their resources to a service that will quickly become irrelevant.


Is the 3G Shutdown Only in Australia?

No. This process is ongoing (or has already reached completion) in other countries, so we’re not alone. Countries that have shut the door on the 3G network include:

  • Taiwan
  • The Czech Republic
  • Germany
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • The United States

Countries that will face 3G shutdowns alongside Australia in 2023 and 2024 include:

  • Denmark
  • Slovakia
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Sweden
  • The UK

Benefits of upgrading to the latest 4G devices:

  • See your fleet in real time, 24 hours a day – With Netstar’s 4G GPS Trackers, you can track your assets, and receive alerts in real-time from anywhere across Australia. Obtain insights into what’s happening out on the field with the Netstar software dashboards and reports.
  • Track your assets anytime, anywhere – GPS vehicle tracking is an excellent solution for any business with a fleet of vehicles or valuable assets. With the ability to see where your staff, assets and vehicles are, you can save money, optimise their use and improve driver behaviour.
  • Monitor driver behaviour – stay connected to your team – With Netstar GPS Trackers you can monitor driver behaviour such as harsh braking, sharp cornering, or rapid acceleration. You’ll also know when they’ve arrived at their destination—no more waiting for a call to find out if everything is running the way it should be.
  • Reduced fuel costs – with location data helping you design and implement more efficient routes.
  • Optimised asset use – you’ll be able to monitor idle times and under-used assets within the fleet.

Now is the time to upgrade your 3G tracking devices

Australia’s 2023-2024 3G network shutdown was long expected, but it’s still easy to be caught unprepared. With Netstar, you can relax and focus on your work, knowing that we’re taking care of your most important assets. If you need to make the switch from 3G to your 4G Netstar tracking device, contact us today for industry-leading advice and guidance.