Why shut it down?
A lot has changed in the last 25 years. Cellular, or Mobile networks as we call them have gotten faster, the technology has improved and these legacy systems are simply old, dated and newer systems can provide exactly the same functionality for the same, or sometimes cheaper cost.
Once the 2G network is shut down, the frequencies used for the 2G network can be re-purposed – or re-farmed – for use in other projects, including bolstering their 3G or 4G networks. Vodafone currently uses the 900MHz band for their 2G network, so we could see this used in other places in the near future.
So. When will it shut down? Vodafone has announced that they will be shutting down their network in stages, starting in Queensland on April 30, before shutting it down around the rest of Australia with a final shut off in NSW and the ACT in June. The schedule looks like this:
- From April 30: Queensland
- From 14 May 2018: Victoria and Tasmania
- From 28 May 2018: Western Australia, South Australia and Northern Territory
- From 14 Jun, 2018: New South Wales and ACT
Will I be affected?
It’s pretty easy to tell, all you need to do is check the signal on your mobile phone. If you’re seeing an “E”, “EDGE”, or “GPRS” symbol then you’re either in a terrible area of reception or you’re on a 2G SIM and should probably get in contact with Vodafone to talk about updating your plan, and possibly your phone.
If you’re likely to try and lock your device to a 2G network, you’ll also find you can’t make calls, use data or basically get any connectivity either.
There’s a slightly harder problem for other systems that use 2G mobile networks though. Embedded systems like GPS trackers, Alarm systems and health monitors all could potentially use the 2G Network. If you have one of these systems, it’s a good idea to check any bills to see if they mention utilising the Vodafone 2G network before the cut off date.
I’m not a Vodafone customer
You may not be a Vodafone customer, but if you have a plan with a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) who uses the Vodafone network you may be affected. Most MVNOs haven’t offered a 2G plan for a while, so it’s unlikely you’re on one, but it pays to check.
So, which MVNOs use the Vodafone network?
- CMOBILE/RED PLANS
- Hello Mobile
- KISA Phone
- KISS Mobile
- Kogan Mobile
- Revolution Telecom (RevTel)
- Reward Mobile
- Think Mobile
If you’re using one of these MVNOs it’s probably worth asking them if you’re on a 2G plan, but if you have a “3G”, “H”, “HSPA”, “4G” or “LTE” near your bars in your status bar you’re probably ok.
I have a 2G device – what do I do?
Vodafone has made its intention to shut down its 2G network very public, first announcing it last year. Vodafone has been working to ensure all customers who will potentially be affected are moved to plans and phones compatible with the Vodafone 3G and/or 4G networks.
If you think you’re going to be affected, best idea is to either head into your local Vodafone store to discuss your plan, or if that’s not super convenient then give them a call on 1300 658 855.