The 2G network in Australia will begin shutting down in December 2016.

Key Dates:

  • Telstra – December 1, 2016
  • Optus – April 1, 2017
  • Vodafone – September 30, 2017

2G was first launched in Australia in April 1993 by Telecom (now known as Telstra), and stands for second-generation wireless telephone technology.
At the time it represented a significant step forward in the mobile experience. 2G was responsible for introducing digital data services that enabled SMS and email. It was also the first time that digital coding occurred on a large scale. This prevented ‘cloned’ handsets, improving security, clarity of voice and the good old days of very little battery power.

The reality is that technology evolves. Telecommunications providers will soon re-farm the current infrastructure and the old 2G radio frequencies for use on 3G, 4G and soon to be tested 5G networks to help meet ever-increasing data demands.
Although 2G traffic accounts for less than 1% of Telstra’s total network traffic, this number does not include the machine 2 machine devices that use the 2G connection for communicating with other terminals. For example, the 2G Motorola barcode scanners. These devices are still predominantly used in supply chain to perform stock taking, scanning inventory, and import management.

These devices use the 2G network to transmit information from the handheld device to other terminals. Other devices affected are the GPRS/2G vehicle trackers that only have a 2G chip, all 2G mobile phones and 2G SIM cards. These devices will simply be off the grid completely.

Here are three practical steps to take to prepare for the shutdown:

  1. Conduct an audit of your current environment and understand the impact the 2G shutdown will have on your business continuity.
  2. Prioritise high impact, business critical functions and identify efficiencies to be gained when upgrading.
  3. Develop a migration plan that leverages either off-the-shelf platforms that can be customised to your business or develop bespoke solutions as required.

To chat with one of our consultants about navigating the 2G shutdown, contact our Business Development Director, Will Wilson (