What to do as Optus is shutting down 2G in Australia?

2 G Network Closure

Optus has made a recent announcement and it is shutting down its 2G service in in Queensland, New South Wales, ACT, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, with Northern Territory and Western Australia already switched off in April 2017.

So that means if you have a 2G SIM card, mobile handset, mobile broadband, tablets or wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) device it won’t work on Optus’s network anymore. You won’t be able to make or receive voice calls or SMS, access voicemail or use data services. Also if you’re with Virgin Mobile or an Optus Wholesale service provider using the 2G GSM network, you will also be cut off.

Apart from this if you have life critical 2G services that are used for monitoring health, emergency services, occupational health and safety duress, security and fire alarms or other remote safety situations, these will also no longer work. What you need is to contact the provider of these services immediately.

Also note that if you have a 2G handheld mobile, emergency calls to 000 or 112 won’t be possible unless you’re within the 2G network coverage area of another carrier. Your device screen is likely to display “SOS” or “Emergency Calls Only” when you’re within range of another carrier.

What you need to do now?

2G network Phone

You need a new 3G SIM card and new device. If you have a 2G SIM card in a 3G/4G device, you’ll need a new 3G SIM card. If you have a 3G SIM card in a 2G device, you’ll need a new device. Your new device might not fit your current SIM card though, so you might need a new one anyway. Also if you have a 3G SIM card in a 3G/4G device, you’ll need to check your device network settings are configured to “Auto”.

In case you your SIM card and/or device was supplied by your workplace, and you received an SMS about 2G service impacts, you’ll need to discuss upgrading your services with your employer.

Identify whether your mobile service was previously operating on the 2G mobile network. At the top of your phone or tablet screen, when it’s turned on, you would previously had seen these symbols “2G, Edge, E or GPRS”. These will no longer display and you will now see “No Service” or something similar depending on your device. Which means you’ll need to replace your SIM card and/or device or both.

Previously if you had “2G, GSM, E or EDGE” symbols at the top of your screen, and now you see “No Service”, “SOS” or “Emergency Calls Only”, the device was operating on the 2G network and will need to be replaced. But If you can now see “3G, HSPA, 4G or LTE” symbols at the top of your screen, the device can operate on 3G/4G services.

ALso your device and SIM card if are both compatible with the 3G/4G network, the last thing to check is that your mobile settings allow you to use their 3G/4G capabilities.

Check that your device network mode is set to Automatic by accessing “Settings” or “Network Settings” on your mobile. If the device you’re adjusting is a mobile broadband device, you may need to make the adjustment through its “Connection Manager”.

The 2G network  was first established in 1993 and had played an important role in Optus network, particularly when they were first establishing across Australia.

But Optus had a reason to shut down 2G services. In a statement it says as 2G capabilities become eclipsed by 3G and 4G network technologies, the closure will allow us to review options to re-allocate some of this spectrum to improve customer experience and mobile services and also investigate emerging technologies such as 5G.

Optus also mentions that their priority throughout this process has been to ensure their 2G customers are prepared for this change and have the right level of support to allow for a smooth transition to their 3G and 4G services.

Find more details what you need to do as Optus has a comprehensive FAQ section set up on its website which you should visit.