3G Closure Frequently Asked Questions

Published: Monday, 20 May 2024


  • On 31 August 2024 Telstra are closing their 3G network.
  • When 3G launched in 2006 we used our mobile devices for calls, texting and accessing basic information online.
  • Today, demand for mobile data is growing by around 30 percent each year. As our technology and use cases change, you need a network that’s fit for today and the future.
  • Once Telstra has closed the 3G network, we will repurpose the spectrum so that we can use it to expand our 5G network.
  • Telstra started talking to our customers about saying goodbye to 3G in October 2019, more than three years ago, to ensure they had enough time to understand what changes they need to make.
  • Telstra are upgrading areas that only have 3G coverage to ensure these areas have equivalent 4G coverage available by 31 August 2024.


1.  Will you match your existing 3G coverage with 4G before you switch off 3G?

  • Yes, we are working hard to upgrade areas to ensure equivalent 4G coverage before the 3G network is switched off.
  • Our 3G network will remain open until 31 August 2024.

2.  Will my network experience go backwards from 3G when it moves to 4G coverage?

  • Your network experience should improve, and in most cases, you’ll notice a substantial improvement in speeds when you move from 3G only coverage to 4G coverage. Our 4G service accesses greater bandwidths and is more efficient than 3G, leading to higher end-user speeds.
  • The speed you experience is determined by a range of factors including how close you are to a tower, how much traffic the site is carrying, if there are any obstructions impeding the network (i.e. buildings, hills, vegetation etc.) and what sort of device you’re using.

3.  Will the 3G network be closed at one point or will it be a phased approach (geographically)?

  • While it’s not quite as simple as flicking a switch, the closure will commence from 31 August 2024 and is likely to happen relatively quickly. We will confirm our closure schedule close to the closure date, but there will be no loss of 3G coverage prior to 31 August 2024.

4.  After 31 August 2024, can you guarantee I will have 4G coverage in a location that currently only has a 3G signal?

  • In areas that currently only have a 3G signal, we’re committed to providing 4G coverage prior to the closure of the 3G network.
  • Note that to ensure equivalent 4G coverage to 3G after its closure, it is important that customers are using appropriate devices – for example, if currently using a blue-tick 3G device you will need a blue tick 4G device, or if currently relying on a 3G T-Go or TMSA coverage extension device you will need an equivalent 4G device to ensure coverage equivalence.

5.  What about inside buildings (in-building coverage)?

  • Our 3G network includes some equipment that supplies in-building coverage. In many cases our 4G network will already have replicated the in-building coverage provided by this equipment, and where this is not the case, we plan to augment our 4G coverage. The exception to this is where customers have procured coverage extension devices to augment indoor coverage, such as the T-Go or TMSA. To obtain equivalent 4G coverage these devices need to be upgraded to 4G if they are not already 4G capable.
  • Indoor coverage is highly variable and there may be locations where indoor coverage is indicated on our publicly available maps but the location, density and material of buildings and other physical structures may reduce performance. This is the case with both 3G and 4G coverage, but the effects can be unpredictable.
  • Things that may reduce or block indoor coverage include basements, lifts, underground car parks, concrete buildings, tunnels and road cuttings, steel framing and metallic window film. Devices such as the Telstra GO Repeater may help improve indoor coverage.

6.  What does this mean for the Mobile Black Spot Program? How many of those mobile base stations are affected by this decision?

  • All mobile base stations built under the first four rounds of the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program have 3G and 4G coverage. The 4G network will continue to operate in these areas, even after we have closed the 3G network. We stopped including 3G in our MBSP proposals from Round 5 onwards given our 2019 announcement to exit this technology.

7.  Why do you need to repurpose 3G spectrum for 5G?

  • By repurposing our 3G spectrum to supplement our 5G network it will enable us to provide a better experience for our customers. Traffic on our 3G network has declined significantly and continues to do so as we modernise our network with newer and better technologies.

8.  What does closure of the 3G network mean for me?

  • If you have a device that is only able to connect to 3G you will be unable to connect to Telstra’s network post 3G closure. Likewise, if you have a mobile device that does not have Voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology, even if the mobile device is 4G/5G, it will not be able to make voice calls after 31 August 2024.
  • You will need to upgrade your device to a 4G/5G VoLTE capable and compatible device before 31 August 2024. Doing so will ensure that you can access Telstra’s network and will have both data access and voice calling compatibility.
  • You can find out more about VoLTE, including what it is, what devices are compatible, and how to check or enable VoLTE on your phone here: How do I enable VoLTE on my mobile device? | Telstra Support. Also see Question 9 below for more information.
  • Customers using 3G mobile, IoT and network extension devices, some EFTPOS machines, medical devices and antennas that operate on the 3G network only will be able to continue using their device or antenna until 31 August 2024. After this date, if the device has not been updated to be 4G or 5G compatible, it will no longer work.

9.  What is VoLTE and what do I need to do before the 3G closure?

  • Voice over LTE (VoLTE) lets you make phone calls over our 4G (LTE) network. Your mobile device will use 4G to make and receive these calls in areas where 4G (LTE) is available. When our 3G network closes on 31 August 2024, VoLTE will be required to make or receive phone calls on the Telstra mobile network. It is important to note that: 

➢3G phones do not have VoLTE; and

➢Not all 4G/5G phones have VoLTE and/or are compatible with the Telstra network.

  • We strongly recommend that if you have a 3G mobile device, you upgrade to a 4G/5G mobile device that is VoLTE capable and compatible prior to 31 August 2024.
  • If you already have a 4G/5G mobile device, we strongly recommend that you check that your device is VoLTE capable and compatible. You can check your mobile device by following the instructions on the Telstra website that you can find here: How do I enable VoLTE on my mobile device? | Telstra Support

10.  Why did you give customers almost five years notice of the 3G closure when you only provided two years notice for the 2G closure?

  • We wanted to give our customers as much lead time as possible to upgrade to 4G or 5G devices where required.

11.  Is almost 5 years long enough for people to make the transition?

  • It is common for customers to upgrade their equipment every few years. We made a public announcement in October 2019 that we’d be saying goodbye to our 3G service. We have been, and will be, there to help customers and ensure the transition is as seamless as possible. 
  • We are seeing a consistent, steady decline in the number of people using our 3G network. We launched our 4G service in 2011 and customers have progressively upgraded their devices to make use of the increased speeds and services available on this network. In May 2019 we also launched our 5G network which now covers more than 80 percent of Australia’s population.

12.  Are any other Australian telcos closing their 3G network?

  • Yes, both Vodafone and Optus have announced they will be closing their 3G network too. For more details check in with the relevant carrier.

13.  Is there anywhere else in the world where mobile operators are closing their 3G network?

  • Yes, a number of other mobile network operators have announced intentions to close, or have already closed, their 3G networks. This includes operators such as AT&T and Verizon in North America and, British Telecom in the UK.

14.  What spectrum does Telstra’s 3G network use?

  • Telstra’s 3G network operates on 850MHz spectrum.

15.  What spectrum does Telstra’s 4G network use?

  • Telstra’s 4G network mainly operates on 700MHz spectrum. We also use 1800MHz, 900MHz, 2100MHz and/or 2600MHz spectrum in some locations.

16.  What spectrum does Telstra’s LTE-M and NB-IOT network use?

  • Telstra is currently using the 700MHz spectrum band for its LTE-M and NB-IOT network.

17.  What spectrum does Telstra’s 5G network use?

  • Telstra 5G operated on 3.6GHz spectrum, supplemented with 850MHz and 26GHz mmWave in selected areas. By reallocating our 3G 850MHz spectrum to use it for our 5G network, we can provide 5G coverage to larger areas of regional Australia and better in-building coverage in metro areas. This is because 850MHz spectrum has better propagation characteristics, meaning it has better reach and penetrates further into buildings.

18.  Will all 3G only areas be upgraded to 5G as well as 4G? If not, why not?

  • We are committed to upgrading all 3G only areas with equivalent 4G coverage. Our 5G coverage, like all new technologies, builds outwards from population centres over time (and is now at over 80% population coverage).  In areas where there is no 5G, our 4G coverage can meet end-user demands. Current coverage information can be found at Our Coverage & Rollout Maps - Telstra

19.  How do I know if a Telstra 4G network is available in my location?

  • If you have a 4G/5G mobile device, you will see the 4G symbol appear at the top right of the device if 4G is available in your location. You can check Our Coverage & Rollout Maps - Telstra

20.  If I decide not to upgrade my 3G mobile device to a 4G/5G device, or I forget to upgrade prior to 31 August 2024, can I still make an emergency call after that date?

  • No, as we will no longer have 3G mobile coverage from 31 August 2024.

    Mobile devices have special roaming capabilities when calling Triple Zero (000). In instances where another carrier has 3G coverage, you may still be able to make a 000 call. However, it’s important to note that other carriers are likewise closing their 3G network in similar timeframes to Telstra.

21.  What is the expected lifespan for Telstra’s 4G network?

  • We continue to deploy new 4G coverage and do not have a closure date for our 4G network. LTE-M and NB-IoT have been adopted into the 5G family of technologies. This allows our customers to embrace LTE-M and NB-IoT with confidence in the technology’s long-term future.

22.  What about your Business or Enterprise customers who have multiple 3G devices?

  • We have been talking to our Business and Enterprise customers about the steps they need to take to migrate to 4G since we announced 3G was closing. If you are a Business or Enterprise customer, we can work with you to show you which of your Telstra services use 3G, and in some cases we’re even able to see when and where those services last connected to 3G.
  • For IoT devices, we won’t be able to advise exactly what the device is, or what it’s being used for, but in most cases we will be able to advise the module, make and model and service number associated with the device.

23.  How will Telstra help me with the transition or device replacement?

  • If you are using a 3G device and need help transitioning or finding a suitable replacement device, please don’t hesitate to ask a team member at your local Telstra store, Telstra dealer or contact us and we’ll be happy to help you.

24.  Do I need a new plan to use 4G/5G devices or other technologies?

  • No, if you change to a 4G or 5G device and intend to use it in the same way as your current device you should not need to change your plan.

25.  Will International Roaming be impacted as a result of the closure of Telstra’s 3G network?

  • For Australians travelling overseas (Outbound Roaming) International Roaming will continue to operate as it does today, as long as your device is compatible with the roaming partner’s network. For those travelling to Australia, you will need a device that is compatible with our 4G network.


1.  Will my 3G only mobile device work on Telstra’s 4G network?

  • No, 3G only mobile devices will not work on Telstra’s 4G network. We will work with customers and stakeholders around any concerns they have about changing devices or technology types to be ready for the change.

2.  What sort of 4G/5G mobile device do I need?

  • It is important to note that some 4G/5G devices (particularly devices originally sourced from overseas markets) are not compatible with all of Telstra’s 4G frequencies and so it is important to make sure that you select a device that is compatible with Telstra’s 4G/5G network. If you live in a regional or rural area, we recommend you select a Telstra Blue Tick device, see more here: Telstra Blue Tick devices.
  • Also see question 3 below for more information about the need to ensure your mobile device is VoLTE capable and compatible with Telstra’s network.

3.  I have a 4G/5G mobile device but it still uses the 3G network for voice calls. What will happen once the 3G network has closed?

  • Some 4G/5G mobile devices do not support what is known as “Voice over LTE” (VoLTE), so when voice calls are made on these 4G/5G phones these calls are carried on the 3G network and not the 4G network.
  • In order to make voice calls on the Telstra 4G network, customers with 4G mobile devices that do not support voice calling will need to upgrade to VoLTE capable and compatible 4G/5G devices before we close the 3G network on 31 August 2024.
  • If a 4G/5G non-VoLTE mobile device remains on our network after the closure of Telstra’s 3G network, it will still be able to use data, but it will not be able to make or receive voice calls including Triple Zero (000) emergency calls.
  • All devices sold by Telstra today are 4G and Voice over LTE (VoLTE, or voice over 4G) capable and compatible, and will work on our network beyond 31 August 2024.

4.  Will wearables continue to work on Telstra’s mobile network after the closure of the 3G network?

  • Yes, however older generation wearables (typically 2019 or earlier) may experience limited or intermittent coverage. This is usually caused by the device not supporting the main frequency we use for our 4G coverage (700 MHz). This is less likely to be an issue for newer cellular capable models. For more information, please see Other devices and services affected - Wearables.


1.  I have recently invested in 3G IoT devices. How will Telstra assist me to replace these devices? What costs am I likely to incur?

  • Where deployed devices have an expected lifetime beyond the planned 3G closure date we will work with you to plan for the replacement of your devices.

2. Will my 3G only IoT device work on Telstra’s 4G network?

  • 3G only IoT devices will not work on Telstra’s 4G network. This includes some IoT and network extension devices that operate on the 3G network only, such as some EFTPOS machines and 3G only antennas. We will work with customers and stakeholders around any concerns they have about changing devices or technology types to be ready for the change.
  • Some customers may have brought their own (BYO) device to use on the Telstra mobile network or bought IoT devices from a third-party supplier. In these cases we will do our best to provide people with information on 4G or LTE-M/NB-IoT mobile technology (where relevant) for IoT use cases.

3.  What specific 3G products/devices available today will not be easily upgradable to 4G/5G?

  • If a device is 3G only, the radio hardware is not upgradable to 4G. It most cases the radio hardware is embedded in the device and hence the whole device will need to be replaced with one that supports 4G, 5G or LPWAN.
  • Most typical IoT use cases (devices) have a 4G LTE or LPWAN migration solution available now.
  • We are unable to comment on the timings for individual device manufacturers. We recommend you contact device manufacturers directly if you have questions about the availability of compatible replacement devices.


Information was updated May 2024.

PRINTED 11/05/202314/05/2023 10:59 PM