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Australia begins shutting down its 2G network


With 4G becoming mainstream, eventually, it’s time to bid goodbye to the good old 2G network. Australia’s largest telecommunications company, Telstra has pulled the plug on its 2G GSM network and it will soon be joined by other telcos including Optus and Vodafone.

Obviously this affects those who are still clinging on to their feature phones like this bloke above with his 13 year old Nokia 3315. To mark the occasion, Telstra had invited him over to make his final 2G call that was shared live on Facebook.

Switching off 2G isn’t just bad news for users of non-3G phones. It affects legacy connected devices like GPS tracker and alarm systems that relies on 2G. Owners of early dual-SIM phones would be affected as well since most of them run on 2G for the secondary SIM. The clear solution is to make the jump to newer 3G/4G devices.

Apart from Australia, other countries have also announced 2G retirement plans. The 3 telcos in Singapore, namely Singtel, M1 and Starhub will shut down their 2G network by 1st April 2017.

Meanwhile, in Malaysia, we have Celcom, Digi and Maxis still running their 2G networks and there are no plans to cease its operations yet. Back in the 90s, most 2G operators including Celcom, Digi, TM Touch, Maxis and Adam were running on 900MHz and 1800MHz bands with exception for Mobikom (018) that utilises D-AMPS (TDMA). With growing demand for faster networks, the 1800MHz band is refarmed to make way for 4G LTE.

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2G will be switched off locally in future but that’s only possible when our 3G/4G coverage is extensive enough to cover all populated areas. Do you still rely on 2G? Let us know the comments below.


Alexander Wong