Telstra has announced its intention to switch off its 2G (GSM) mobile network by the end of 2016.
The network, which has been powering mobile telecommunications in Australia for over twenty years now, has reached its end of life, and while Telstra’s 2G network was once one of the best, and carried the majority of Australian mobile traffic, its time has come.
Today, Telstra’s 2G network carries just 1% of its overall voice traffic, and with newer networks offering better coverage, faster services, and better features, it’s easy to see why Telstra has decided the time is now. We’ve moved from an era where being able to make a phone call without being tethered to something was new and unique, to an age where we use our phones not to communicate per se, but to take photos of what we’re eating, and to share those photos with the world. Voice communication is just one small part of a mobile phone these days, and it wouldn’t have been possible at all without the huge leap forward that 2G offered over the analog networks at the time.
For those handful of Telstra customers still using 2G-only handsets, you’ve got a bit of time to upgrade; 3G handsets start at $60 or so these days, and you can buy them with your groceries, so don’t get left behind. If you’ve got a compatible 3G handset, but it doesn’t work on 3G, you might need a new Telstra SIM — pop into a store today and they’ll fix you up free of charge.