Optus notification to PERSL of imminent 3G shutdown – Now less than 19 months remaining 

I am writing to provide initial notice as to Optus’ plans to re-farm its 900MHz spectrum band commencing September 2024, in order to provide a better 4G network experience and to support the growth of 5G. This is an important action for us to take to ensure that our customers have access to the very best network experience that Optus can provide.

Once this activity is completed, 3G services will no longer be available on the Optus network. 

Should any PERSL members have monitored alarm (or similar) products that use the Optus mobile network, we encourage them to urgently check with the supplier of these products whether they or their end users will need to upgrade any equipment (or SIM cards) as a result of this change.

Timing and ongoing communication plan

We are providing more than 18 months’ notice of our plans to the market, and will commence customer-specific communications to those impacted by the change over the coming months, including advice regarding the actions customers need to take – namely, the upgrading of outdated devices and/or SIM cards.

We will also ensure customers have access to the latest information on this technology refresh via the Optus website (www.optus.com.au/3g), and that they can make contact to discuss their options over the coming months either via our contact centre or My Optus App.

Locations affected

The re-farming process is a national initiative which will free up underutilised spectrum across approx. 7700 sites, 61% of which are in metropolitan areas.

Comparison to other carriers

Telstra announced in October 2019 that they will be shutting down their 3G 900MHz network in mid-2024. TPG announced in September 2022 that it plans to switch off its 3G network by December 2023.

What does this mean for customers

If customers have a 3G device, it will no longer be able to connect to the Optus network and they will need to upgrade to a device that supports LTE 700MHz to continue to connect to the Optus mobile network across Australia.

Optus will contact its customers that may have very old SIM cards and help with an upgrade of their SIM card if it is required.

Is Optus closing 3G?

Yes. Following our re-farming of the 900MHz spectrum in 2024, Optus will no longer operate a 3G network.

Will customers still be able to call 000?

After September 2024, if a customer’s device is not compatible with our 4G network or falls back to the 3G network for emergency calls, then they will not be able to make an emergency call to Triple Zero on the Optus mobile network.

In the event that 3G coverage is available from another operator, then emergency calls may be able to be made (however Optus cannot guarantee this).

How does this impact customers who have a medical or security device?

We recommend customers check for compatibility directly with the service provider and upgrade their devices now.

Kind regards