TPG Telecom has confirmed a switch off date of 15 December 2023 for all its 3G mobile network services, providing time for customers to prepare for the move to faster 4G and 5G mobile services.
The decommissioning follows a significant decline in 3G network use in recent years, as customers use devices that access the greater speed and connectivity of 4G and 5G mobile networks.
“We have announced the December 2023 switch-off date in the best interests of giving our consumer and business customers the appropriate time and support they require to prepare for the move to superior mobile technologies like 4G and 5G,” said TPG Telecom chief technology officer Giovanni Chiarelli.
“The retirement of older network technologies like 3G is part of an important industry-wide move to provide customers with better speed and greater functionality with today’s modern smartphones and devices.”
TPG Telecom’s 3G network currently carries less than one per cent of the network’s total mobile data traffic.
In comparison, the 4G network accounts for 86 per cent of the company’s total mobile data traffic and its 5G services make up 13.5 per cent. After the 3G switch off, 3G voice calls will automatically be carried over 4G or Wi-Fi calling for devices that support the feature.
The decision to turn off its 3G network comes after TPG Telecom successfully reformed the 2100Mhz spectrum it uses for 3G services in metropolitan Australia for use in its 4G network.
The 900Mhz spectrum used for the 3G network in regional areas is due to expire in June 2024.
“The 3G switch off will only impact a small number of our customers who have 3G-only devices and our priority is to ensure they have a 4G or 5G device prior to December 2023,” Chiarelli said.
“We are committed to keeping our consumer and enterprise customers informed in the lead up to the 3G switch off and will be providing further information to affected mobile customers of Vodafone, TPG, iiNet, Internode, Lebara, Kogan and felix in the year ahead.”
TPG Telecom continues to roll out and upgrade its 4G and 5G networks across Australia and expects by the end of this year, the 5G rollout will surpass 2,000 sites and will continue to grow.
TPG Telecom's wholesale broadband arm re-launched as Vision Network last week with ambitions to supply “superfast” broadband services to more than 400,000 residential customers across Australia.
The telco, along with Telstra, also rustled up a fleet of external experts in their submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in their proposed spectrum and network-sharing deal.
The telco duo issued a number of responses to Optus’ claim that the network-sharing agreement counts as a merger and will decrease competition in rural and regional Australia’s mobile market.
The ACCC is set to rule on the proposed 10-year multi-operator core network (MOCN) deal in November.