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23 Jul 2014
By Mike Wright
Jul
23
2014

It’s time to say goodbye old friend

Filed under: , ,

network-tower_hero

Today we are announcing our plan to close the 2G (GSM) network by the end of 2016.

GSM, or Global System for Mobiles communications, was the second generation of mobile technology after Analog which had it’s origins in a pan European collaboration of Engineering experts. In my view it was the mobile system that changed the world and it did this by creating one of the most complete and comprehensive mobile standards the world had ever seen, this created scale, drove down cost and made the mobile phone accessible to the mass market. Along the way GSM introduced us to International roaming, text messaging and the early mobile Internet.

From relatively early in my career I became involved in the rollout of 2G in Australia and through that program and subsequent projects I am privileged to say that I have been able to get to know some of the original GSM contributors from countries such as France, UK, Sweden and more. In my view, the world owes these people a great debt.

Our 2G network has operated for more than 20 years and was once the premium mobile network for Australians. At the time, just making a phone call on the move was a novelty and Australians embraced the mobile phenomenon. But times change. 

As technology evolved and mobile phones have become smarter, customers have naturally moved to our 3G and 4G networks that offer faster speeds and a user experience that we could only have dreamed about 20 years ago. With new technologies like LTE Advanced the network is continuing to evolve even further.

Ever since we launched our world leading NextG network in 2006 we have seen customers progressively move off the 2G network. To this end we have seen steep declines in the number of customers on 2G to the point where;

  • Today 2G traffic accounts for less than 1 per cent of our total network traffic.
  • We have not sold a 2G phone for several years

In the coming years we expect to see this dwindle further as we continue to invest in our 3G and 4G technology so it’s time to call a sunset for this world changing network technology.

Over the next two and a half years we will work with the remaining 2G retail customers to help them transition onto our Australian leading 3G and 4G technologies, which provides superior coverage, faster speeds and more services than they currently receive on 2G.

Shortly we will start to contact customers who may be affected by the 2G closure to explain the changes and to provide them with their options. For Telstra Retail customers this may be simple, as many already have 3G phones but have not upgraded their SIM card. For others, they may need to change to a compatible 3G/4G handset.

For our wholesale customers, we will be in contact soon to discuss what this change means for you and how we will work with you to support transition from our 2G network

How can you upgrade from 2G to 3G or 4G services?

We have not sold a 2G only device for several years, which means that if you are using our 2G network you may already have a 3G or 4G compatible devices and will only require a new SIM card. If you think this applies to you, we encourage you to come down to your local Telstra store to swap your existing 2G SIM card for a new one at no extra cost.

You will know you’re on the 2G network if you have a 2G icon in the top right hand corner of your device. You might also see GPRS, E or EDGE written at the top of the screen.

For more information about these changes or to upgrade to a compatible device or SIM, customers can head to our Help and Support page.

By

Posts: 37

96 Comments

  1. Hasan says:

    It’s really great to see Telstra lead by example. And I am sure the sooner we can drive convergence to LTE (LTE-Advanced, Broadcast/Unlicenced etc..) it will give much needed scale to make LTE device become affordable faster, enabling us to enjoy the benefits of most efficient Radio technology available to-date. Look forward to see Telstra bring CA in phases like 700+2500, 700+1800+2500, or even unbeatable low band CA combination 700+850+900 that very few other country have.

  2. Blue says:

    The biggest market to be affected will be vehicle tracking. Yet another business expense to the early adopters.

  3. Ben says:

    does this shutdown include GPRS for commercial users? such as parking meters, POS terminals, alarms systems…

    • Jamie (Editor) says:

      Hi Ben, The good news is that these systems can use 3G services and we’ll be in contact with any customers running these services over 2G to discuss transitioning to 3G or setting up an alternative solution. :)

  4. matt says:

    What about areas that have 2G coverage only and no 3G/4G? For example, Christmas Island?

    • Jamie (Editor) says:

      Hi Matt, All areas of Australia that are covered by the 2G network are already fully covered by our 3G service, which also extends well beyond the 2G coverage footprint. The only exception is Christmas Island and it will be excluded from this programmed closure. I hope this helps clarify! Thanks, Jamie.

  5. Steven says:

    So who is going to pay for the new phones that many pensioners and disabled people will need? My wife and I are both disability pensioners, and have 2G prepaid phones (and a spare each). This is digital TV all over again. We have TV’s and VCR’s that are useless because there is no longer an analogue signal. Our TV’s and VCR’s had to be replaced at own own expense, even though there was nothing wrong with them.
    If Telstra is shutting down the 2G network, then they should replace every 2G phone with a comparable 3G or 4G phone at Telstra’s cost.

    • Jamie (Editor) says:

      Hi Steven, I’m really sorry for the inconvenience of having to get a new device. I would suggest popping into your closest store to chat about options – we have a range of plans and options available for all customers at different price points. Thanks, Jamie.

      • Steven says:

        The inconvenience isn’t the issue, it’s the cost. I will have to replace 4 working handsets (as well as car chargers etc). Who pays for that?
        You shut the network down, you should pay for new handsets and ancillaries.

      • Jamie says:

        To be fair, if you buy a computer from say Harvey Norman and in 4 years time it can’t run the new generation of Windows, Gerry or Bill doesn’t buy you a new PC.

        In saying that I agree that “by the end of 2016″ is too vague and needs to be a bit more specific. They have given 2 years notice though which is worth noting I think.

  6. FearTec says:

    What about embedded devices that are used with cards like this (http://www.dfrobot.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=673#.U9CxZ3lZpaQ ) / GPS/GPRS/GSM Shield V3.0 (Arduino Compatible)

    Will they still work?

    What frequencies are going ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GSM_frequency_bands ?

  7. Andrew S says:

    Goodbye 2G, so testing for voice over 700Mhz is the future way to go. With the 3g network can you activate the Cell ID service on this network that is available on the current GSM Handsets, thus providing your current area you are in displayed on your phone as a cell broadcast message.

    • Hasan says:

      wrt 700 Voice It’d be interesting to see how soon VoLTE takes off, given the challenges of device power consumption worse than CS Voice & IMS take-off on the Network side for LTE.

      • Andrew S says:

        Oh well i’m sure the techs are working on it!
        Still use the Nokia 5110 cause is got the direct antenna connection for the car kit. Not like the passive induction car kits that have loss of reception!.
        Wasn’t 2g 900 supposed to back up 3g.

      • Jamie (Editor) says:

        Hi Andrew S, I thought you might like to know that we don’t rely on 2G as a congestion aid, we actually have a range of options available to provide additional coverage and capacity to reduce congestion. In the next 2.5 years we will continue to add more capacity to our 3G and 4G services on the Telstra Mobile Network too :)

      • Andrew S says:

        So Telstra 2g not used as congestion aid compared to other competitors systems. Still waiting on the Telstra tower at Para Vista to get upgraded to 4g 1800Mhz and possible 700Mhz in 2015.
        With LTE what I would like is 700Mhz USB Data Stick device with antenna connection, Telstra currently only have Wireless box that covers 700Mh LTE Data.

  8. anthony says:

    Hi , I use 2G Telstra prepaid vouchers . Some months I spend $60 , some $10 . I call and send sms’s only , no need to find out the weather or sports results . So I have a cheap phone . What do I do with a new handset cost , what do I do then for re-charging ?? Thanks

  9. Anwar says:

    I was feeling a bit sorry for the electricity distributors having tens of thousands of smart meters using GSM modems to send metering telemetry data to head office.. But then I realised it will be us “the customers” that will be paying for theses to be replaced. :(

    • Jamie (Editor) says:

      Hi Anwar, All of these services can be delivered over 3G. :) We will be in contact with any customer running these services over 2G to discuss transitioning to 3G or setting up an alternative solution.

      • George says:

        I note -- they can be delivered over the 3G network -- the point I think Anwar is saying is the upgrading and replacement of the 2G / GSM modems to 3G/4G modems will come at a cost and someone needs to pay for this.

        We have multiple GSM modems installed so we will need to upgrade them by the time you get the hardware, configure the hardware and the labor to replace it -- it will have a cost of $500-700 per site.

        We can’t cover this cost so it will need to be passed on to the customer.

      • Anwar says:

        Hi, Here is an example: The cost to visit each electricity customer site to upgrade the electricity meter from a 2G modem to a new 3G version and reseal the meter would be lets say $500 per site, for the sake of round numbers. Estimate 10,000 business customer have electricity smart meters with 2G modems for revenue metering in South East Queensland alone, that is a $5 million dollar exercise for the meter owner (retailer), who then passes these costs onto customers. Every monitored fire alarm panel in Queensland has a GSM and PSTN dialler required by law, again maybe 10,000 of these and again lets say $500 per site so another $5 million to upgrade. Home alarm systems with GSM SMS modems, Vending Machines, GPS vehicle trackers… The list goes on. Like the migration from analogue TV to digital there needed to be a plan phase out these devices over much longer period. Many of these businesses worked on ROI periods of 10-15 years for GSM modems installed only in the last few years.

  10. Gandanga says:

    Hi;

    Most of you phones have 3G at 900 MHz disabled, will this change going forward?

    Is it possible to enable 900 MHz on old phones? When will we see phones supporting both 850 and 900 MHz plus 2 100 MHz?

    Thank you for your help.

    GT

    PS
    0-4=four, too!

  11. Leslie says:

    What will you do about roaming? Do you have roaming agreements that will let international visitors use 3G for voice?

    • Jamie (Editor) says:

      Hi Leslie, Most international roaming customers have devices that are capable of roaming onto our 3G or 4G services we will work with the overseas providers to make sure their customers are properly advised about how to get connected when they come to Australia. :)

  12. Peter says:

    I have been advised by a vehicle GPS tracking company that our current modems will not accept a 3G sim and the units will need replacing. Is this correct?

    We have also been advised that it will happen late 2014. Am I to assume this is incorrect and is a sales effort to get us to upgrade to later technology.

    • Jamie (Editor) says:

      Hi Peter, Unfortunately I can’t advise regarding any other companies. I do know that the Telstra 2G network won’t close until 2016 though. Thanks, Jamie.

      • Mario says:

        Quick question; will the shutdown in 2016 be a hard power off, or will there be a progressive ramp up of 3G/4G services to counter the ramp down of 2G services, by areas.

      • Jamie (Editor) says:

        Hi Mario, we will switch off areas progressively. Thanks, Jamie.

  13. Gary says:

    Ok so here we live in Jilliby NSW not more than 6ks from a tower and have no signal at all on the 3G network.

    Options include smart antenna at a cost of $720 or a Yagi ( self install) at 290! or for those that can afford it a sat phone @ 2K +

    So to hell with those on properties and yes my 3G telstra phone has no coverage here.

    To emphasis telstra covers 99% of Australia. In this day and age of technology and the push for advancements in it a simple coverage for mobile coverage cannot be achieved.

  14. Nick says:

    I’ve got around 50 Motorola devices which are 2G only, and a little over $2,000 each to replace.
    I’ve got a handful of other systems where I know the vendor is using 2G devices for general reporting and management. Not sure the cost but I’ll be the one billed for that.

    For telstra to say that only 1% of traffic is on 2G, that’s them being very selective on their measurement. These devices are typically highly critical but lightweight messages of a few KB every now and again compared to the average consumer pulling a 100 MB Youtube and constant messaging of rich media….of course the raw volume is a low percentage. As for Telstra saying ‘we’ haven’t sold a 2G handset in years, they know fine well that all their partners are still selling them today.

    And finally, ‘by the end of 2016′? What does that mean? Do I need to assume some regions will be gone sooner?

    Frankly, we need more notice on this to the START of decommissioning.

    • Sean says:

      The modems would more likely be 3g is Next G 850 MHz not 2G. witch is 900 MHz. If it is 3G 850MHz you will be fine. Next G 850 MHz. 2G is very slow with data and it’s like dialup speeds or worse.

  15. Clayton says:

    It would seem that Telstra has ignored the many data transmission modems in this country that use 2G and the considerable cost to replace. Yet as usual, they expect to see this cost passed downwards to the end user. It is not the end users decision to close but the network providers so I feel they should shoulder some of the responsibility in regards to cost.

  16. Andrew S says:

    My family as well as others in the Port Broughton community, seniors and the disabled still use old handsets on the Telstra 2g network for their simplicity, long battery life and durability.

    Also Telstra don’t have any handsets now that support the direct antenna connection eg: Patch Lead that some of the old nokias have.

    Last phone to have the direct antenna connection was the Telstra (ZTE) tough phone that is now not available. Ideally I would expect the 2g shut down would be in 2020.

  17. Cameron says:

    Good to be made aware early.
    However my company uses a range of 2G & 4G modems in remote locations all around Australia, so I would like to know if is their a shutdown schedule we can monitor to confirm we are switching over correctly, and will have 4G Network available?
    Otherwise we will have to look at a contingency plan for some sites.

  18. TechnoTim says:

    Problem is that there are not 3G replacements available for many of the low cost 2G M2M devices in the market! Many 3G versions cost 10 times that of the 2G variant which is going to make for an expensive upgrade for many people. :(
    Clients requiring basic SMS monitoring and control will have to upgrade to expensive units with un-needed features at great cost. Sad :(

  19. Boogle says:

    On the 1st of August Anwar posted a comment (more of a series of questions really) which are most relevant to our usage of 2G, and I notice that no response by the Editor! Was this an omission or ignoring the “elephant in the room”.

    There are probably 100′s of thousands of current generation 2G GPRS Devices out there and two years is simply not enough time to transition to devices in our case are not even available.

    The suppliers of our 2G product (in Europe) have no immediate plans and see no need for a 3G replacement product.

    Our customers are small business which will not be able to afford to just upgrade both the devices and the back end software.

    This decision is so short sited and lacks indepth analysis. The original writer obviously has not taken into account that many Telecoms suppliers are selling and connecting many new GPRS 2G Devices Daily.

    • Jamie (Editor) says:

      Hi Boogle, as I’ve previously mentioned, we’ll be in contact with any customer running services over 2G to discuss transitioning to 3G or setting up an alternative solution. Thanks for your feedback regarding the writing, I will pass it on. Thanks, Jamie.

      • Boogle says:

        Thank you for the reply. On reflection I trust that once Telstra begins to interact with the current users it will “see” the magnitude of the user base (and the total infrastructure that goes with it), and hopefully, in typical Telstra style work with the users to achieve a workable way to move forward. I eagerly await interaction with the appropriate Telstra people (not just Sales People please!!!). Here’s hoping.

  20. Tammee says:

    What about the thousands of “Monitored 2G Alarm” systems all over Australia. We only installed a 2G Alarm system 24 months ago and no-one did or has bothered to inform us about the 2g closure.

    • Jamie (Editor) says:

      Hi Tammee,

      The good news is that it won’t be closing until 2016, and before it closes we’ll be in contact with any customer running services over 2G to discuss transitioning to 3G or setting up an alternative solution.

      Thanks,
      Jamie

    • Sean says:

      You would find it’s 3g 850 or 2.1ghz. 900MHz 2g would be too slow for the alarm and your sim would be fine. I haven’t herd of Telco provider’s having 2G sim cards for years in Australia on any network. 3g 850 or 2.1 GHz has simler speeds or faster to ADSL or Cable internet without a speed pack on the plan. Telstra’s 3g (Next G) 850 MHz will be around for years to come.

      • Boogle says:

        Discussion about SIM cards in isolation is just not relevant. It is the GSM infrastructure that is the issue, and that the Modules in the 10′s if not 100′s of thousands of Devices only transmit and receive on the GSM Network.

        The statement “The ………… Network will be around for years” has been said many times before about Networks that have been long gone.

        The main problem is from where the money comes to replace all of the Devices.

        Let’s look at a typical User scenario. A small Security Company has 70 Devices with integrated GSM Data Modules in them which they have progressively purchased over the last 3 years (including 5 about two months ago) @ $890.00 that’s $62300.00 plus the back end system @ approx. $20,000.00 which will require extensive upgrade at best, if not complete replacement to provide a workable migration path. How are they possibly are they going to fund this??!!! Then multiply this by say 10,000 as a possible quantity of other User Systems that equates to over $820,000.000 and it is probably a lot more as my example is a very small user.

        Telstra says ” before it closes we’ll be in contact with any customer running services over 2G to discuss transitioning to 3G or setting up an alternative solution.”

        I doubt this means that Telstra will subsidise the replacement of the devices we would have to supply (in order to remain as a Supplier to the Customer) to migrate to 3G. I simply don’t think that the “big picture” has been considered here when indications are that Europe at least are retaining the GSM Networks, and comments from some Telecomms luminaries in the past are that GSM Networks will/should be retained for low level Data M2M purposes.

        But time will tell I guess…..

      • Frank says:

        If one looks back to 2006 when the 850 MHz Next G network was launched it was made quite clear Telstra did not intend to operate multiple networks into the future and the 2G network would be shutdown.

        I think it’s a bit rich now that people start complaining about the replacement of 2G equipment. The fact is you have had a choice for the last 8 years to install 3G equipment and chose not to, mistakenly believing the 2G network would remain operational for an eternity. To complain now defies belief.

        Being 2G, I suppose there is always the Optus or VHA network, but I doubt they will keep their respective networks running long term either.

        Then there are those complaining about their 2G handsets, in 2+ years time it’s more than likely the batteries will be stuffed in them by then anyway. Are you going to be able to get new batteries to keep them working, I doubt it and even if you can, a battery will most likely cost more than a replacement phone anyway.

        What would be good if Telstra could tell us in a simple way which sites 4G 700 Mhz will be active from from January. I’m sure if I was updating existing 2G equipment, I’d be looking at moving straight to equipment that will support 4G, rather than connect onto a congested 3G (Next G) network.

  21. Boogle says:

    Again we now have to add Frank to the list of people missing the main point here. We are not talking about 2G Handsets here at all. We are talking about current Generation M2M Devices for which, currently, there is no 3G replacement. The manufacturers, mainly in Europe, are only in the early stages of developing 3G replacements let alone 4G of which there is not even talk about!

    This is, as I see it, the main problem. People who complain about us complaining believe we are talking about 2G Mobile Phone Handsets….we are not, and it is incumbent on them to learn just what we are on about!

    Batteries by the way are not an issue they are generic, readily available and cost less than $30.00 and require no expertise to replace, or in the case of fixed devices are powered with plug packs and or batteries costing @ $15.00

    • Doug says:

      For small businesses that have a mobile eftpos machine this is a pain…Some banks still operate on the 2G network. We just received our new machine (with next upgrade due in 2017) and it stil operates on 2G…When I rang to investigate further it seems many banks still operate on 2G…..As a regional resident, the 2G eftpos machine does not work…..as the range has been decreased…I understand the need for new technology and am happy with my 3G/4G smart phone but this is a big frustration to small business and their customers….Any suggestions Mr Telstra?

  22. John says:

    It seems irresponsible not to mention the 2G cutoff on their “our coverage” page.

    http://www.telstra.com.au/mobile-phones/coverage-networks/our-coverage/

    Specifically there is no mention in their “coverage disclaimer”.

    Try clicking on “2G GSM”. No warning there either.

  23. Boogle says:

    Hi All, I have just taken the time to read Mike Wright’s Profile. It is obvious Mike has had a lot of experience in setting up Networks and introducing new technologies to the “Mobile Sphere” in Oz. But it appears that he has not kept up to date with exactly how the Customers of these Networks use them.

    The comment “We have not sold a 2G phone for several years” from the origins of this Discussion “It’s time to say goodbye to and old friend” (July 23, 2014) shows that he does not completely understand the ramifications of the impending closure of the 2G GSM Network. It is of concern that Telstra’s Group Managing Director -- Networks, is either unaware or I am loath to say ignoring of the number of GSM/GPRS devices in use in Australia, and being connected each month.

    • Jamie (Editor) says:

      Hi Boogle,

      The number of customers on our 2G network has been in decline over recent years to the point where 2G accounts for 1% of our network traffic. Much of this remaining use is for machine to machine applications that can operate just as well over 3G.

      It’s important to note also that many of the customers currently accessing the 2G network do not need to, and actually have 3G or 4G capable devices. In fact, at least a quarter of the devices that currently access our 2G network are already 3G or 4G capable devices that are fitted with a 2G SIM and customers need only have this SIM card changed (free of charge) at a Telstra store to start accessing 3G and/or 4G services (depending on their device type).

      I hope this helps clarify.

      Thanks,
      Jamie

      • Boogle says:

        Hi Jamie,

        Is the 1% of traffic, Voice only or Total Traffic?

        Does it include the M2M GPRS Traffic? And what is the Total value of the 1% (to the Users not just Telstra)

        I am aware the the M2M Traffic will work on 3G, what I am talking about is devices that only work on GSM, that is the actual radio transceiver part.

        I am talking about current Generation M2M Devices for which, currently, there is no 3G replacement. The manufacturers, mainly in Europe, are only in the early stages of developing 3G replacements, let alone 4G.

        All of the devices we sell have 3G SIMS in them.

        Folllowing on from your comment “customers need only have this SIM card changed (free of charge) at a Telstra store to start accessing 3G and/or 4G services (depending on their device type)” with respect, Jamie I do not think you understand the dynamics of M2M Usage.

        How is a Government or Large Organization going to change out thousands of SIMS of Devices all over Australia, some in quite out of the way locations.

        As with most GPRS M2M Devices the amount of Data “transacted” is very very small, but the Data has huge impacts when it controls pumps, operates EFTPOS Terminals, fire & intrusion alarm panels, Duress Buttons, Smoke Alarms, Power Grid switching, Elderly Person at Home Monitors, GPS Tracking Devices, Motor, Plant, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration. The 2G GSM GPRS Network is ideal for these types of networks, has been for years, is very cost effective, widely used. Why is the rest of the world from my observation continuing with 2G GSM for GPRS??

        And more importantly Jamie, tomorrow, what do I tell my very small business customer, that wants to add 10 additional Devices to his System? Remember this is brand new latest generation, the model only released mid last year, stock on hand?

        Of course………. I know I have to advise him of Telstra’s Decision. But I know what he will say about it and Telstra!!!

      • Jamie (Editor) says:

        We are aware of the range of M2M products and applications (like Eftpos, Telemetry, Argent, M2M, IP Wireless, Connect IP and some Trimble services) that currently work on 2G. The good news is that all of these services can be delivered over 3G. We will be in contact with any customer running these services over 2G to discuss transitioning to 3G or setting up an alternative solution. Have you been contacted yet?If not, please let me know and supply a phone number, and I’ll pass on your details. :)

      • TechnoTim says:

        so what -- the service CAN be done over 3G -- but the issue is (and the very LARGE point your missing) is there is NO drop in replacement for these devices that exist for 3G! It will require hardware replacement or redesign, and most likely firmware and backend redesign too!
        Its going to be an absolute nightmare and a HUGE cost to end users

    • moejoe says:

      Thanks Boogle for bringing this issue to light. We run a M2M company and sell 2G tracking devices for companies to manage their fleet of vehicles. GSM is a standard which international manufacturers manufacture to because it offers them scale to make a profit from designing and developing a product to sell to the international market. Many global manufactures are not interested in the relatively small size of Australia and can ignore Telstra decision to close down its GSM network. What this means is consumers in Australia will have to pay a high premium price to attract a manufacture to make what was once a low cost tracking device to operate in Australia. There are thousands of GSM devices being sold daily around Australia, consumers are largely unaware what frequency there equipment is running on. I think Telstra need to have a hard think or they will suddenly see a large number of M2M clients moving over to a competitor network provider to ensure they can continue to operate their technology.

      • Rod says:

        Moejoe I always laughed at companies such as yours selling old technology. Telstra customers do not want to pay for and prop up an old unprofitable network just so you don’t have to upgrade your devices. Get on the phone to your suppliers and get with the times!!!

      • Craig B says:

        Good on you Rod. Yes those pesky low profit margin customers. Their not worthy of giving much notice about anything. We’d rather they just don’t bother us with their low profit business.

        Not to mention the poorer signal levels on 3G and 4G. Who needs long battery life or good range?

  24. Dlink says:

    Hi,

    We have a device that operates on GPRS, multi-slot class 10. It’s quad band and runs 850/900/1800/1900 MHZ.

    The output power:

    Class 4 (2w) for EGSM850
    Class 4 (2w) for EGSM900
    Class 1 (1w) for GSM1800
    Class 1 (1w) for GSM1900

    Will it still be able to work on 3G?

    Thanks,

  25. Boogle says:

    I would believe that most suppliers of these devices are aware that the services can be delivered over 3G but our suppliers do not have a 3G version as the rest of the world does not need 3G Versions!!!

    No one from Telstra has contacted us, or any of our Customers for that matter, about the closure of the GSM Network.

    I think this is wishful thinking on your part Jamie that Telstra people will be in contact.

    My small company alone has around 150 GSM Devices on our Telstra Account. Some of which were on Telstra’s CDMA Network (which Telstra shut down) and we had to move to the GSM Network. Now you are expecting us to just move to the 3G Network. Is Telstra going to subsidise the cost of the replacement Devices and Back End Infrastructure??

    Jamie, I assume as Editor of this Forum that you have access to my Email address, so please send me an Email and I will return my contact details. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss our situation with you.

    Regards “Boogle”

    • Jamie (Editor) says:

      Thanks Boogle, I’ve forwarded your email to the team who will be able to assist you. Thanks, Jamie.

      • Boogle says:

        Thank you Jamie,

        I”ll report back after I have talked with them.

        Regards

  26. Dean says:

    Great, just great. I can’t get a 3G or 4G signal in my house in a sydney suburb. The only way I can get calls or messages is to switch to the 2G signal. Now Telstra are shutting that down and won’t fix the signal in my area. Instead they tell me to buy a $700 booster to fix THEIR issues. I’m told they don’t guarantee a signal, but by shutting down 2G they guarantee no signal.

  27. Andrew S says:

    Telstra site main road in Port Broughton South Australia (Town Centre) Per RFNSA only 2g GSM Service, will this site be upgraded to provide a UMTS/WCDMA 850 coverage?

  28. Craig B says:

    What concerns me is signal strength. I currently live in on 20th floor of an apartment in Sydney CBD and the signal strength on 2G is superior to 3G which is again superior to 4G. On 2G I receive signal strength of -51dBm most of the time. On 3G I am down 20dB and 40dB on 4G. Consequently I have much better battery life on the 2G network. Calls seem to connect a whole lot quicker than 4G also. I really hope that the 3G/4G signal level will be improved after the 2G network is decommissioned. I currently leave my Motorola RAZR HD on 2G and switch manually back to 4G if I need to use the internet.

  29. James says:

    This is sad. 2G works better in two important respects:

    1. Considerably konger battery life on your phone if you limit the connection to 2G.

    2. I experience better 2G reception at home in suburban Melbourne (3133) than I do 3G. 3-5 bars versus 1 bar for 3G.

    For these reasons consistently use 2G and only switch my phone mode over to 3G when needing faster data for browsing or in a rural area.

  30. Peter Condie says:

    It is probably too late now but I would have thought Telstra could have continued to make a big profit from the 2G network if it had marketed it as a M2M only piece of infrastructure.

    A system reserved for businesses wishing to improve productivity by using telemetry more effectively, or starting to use it at all. It could have been packaged with other voice and Internet access services to help market them as well.

    My employer should be using M2M technologies at it has many remote manufacturing and distribution sites around Australia but they don’t seem to be aware of the many potential money saving applications. I think if Telstra offered it’s expertise in helping businesses to use telemetry it would have made it look less risky to managers that don’t understand it’s potential.

    Anyway, perhaps in the future they should consider this for the 3G network before throwing it away.

  31. Guenter says:

    I agree with many posters about 2G devices for M2M devices. We run hundreds of smart water and gas meters on 2G. They all need to be replaced -- even though some where only installed in June 2014!

    I understand why Telstra want to shut down the 2G network from an isolated business case point of view. However, from such a dominant operator I think it is fair for industry to expect more stability and loyalty (like in Europe) and give a much longer warning time, in line with the expected life expectancy of these devices, ie at least 3 to 5 years.

    I believe we should all lobby heavily Telstra and politicians to delay this shut off.

    Also, can Telstra please publish data in which areas:
    a) the 2G signal has already been turned off
    b) the schedule for future turn offs

  32. Craig B says:

    Guenter,

    Agree wholeheartedly. There should be at a minimum longer warning period about the phase out time.

  33. Boogle says:

    I believe Telstra is handling this Shut Down very badly, in fact much worse than the CDMA shutdown.

    Please note the following:

    1. Comment from Telstra has gone very quiet since the Postings on this page have increased, and many good points have been made.
    2. You will notice in the responses to my posts that I was to be contacted by Telstra to discuss the shutdown and how Telstra might assist. NO CONTACT HAS BEEN MADE!!
    3. None of our Customers have been contacted by Telstra re the closure.

    • Jamie (Editor) says:

      Hi Boogle, At this point I think it’s important to note that we will continue to operate the 2G network up until the end of 2016, so customers who do access the 2G network will continue to be able to do so, if they choose, for another two years. We will be contacting any business owners that are our customers when appropriate. Thanks, Jamie.

  34. David W says:

    We are very sad to hear this news. Somehow we missed your newsletter even though we have started up a Telstra bundle in the last year. A technician at Knox City Telstra Shop told us the bad news this week.

    We loved our analogue bag phone which worked so well in the country. We moved on to CDMA and that was good too. We settled on Nokia 3315 phones and our whole family has them and we bought 2 full car kits on eBay and bought spare phones and I thought it would go on forever. I didn’t think about you cutting off our towers!! Lots of people see our beloved 3315s and say how they used to have one and how well it worked. Yes we have had our SIMs updated to 3G but we weren’t thinking of ever changing phones. In some areas our 3315s get better reception than the fancy new phones.

    You wrote: “Shortly we will start to contact customers who may be affected by the 2G closure to explain the changes and to provide them with their options.” We haven’t heard from you yet. Can’t you tell that we are using the 2G if we have 3G SIMs?

    We still use our VCR and analogue TV and a STB to time shift our shows and we still enjoy our tea made in a pot!

    See you in December 2016 and we will see what deals you are doing then to change us over.

  35. Andrew S says:

    Telstra to close 2g?
    - Previously recommendations to switch your phone to 2g in the event of emergency power conservation as per the cyclone that caused so much destruction in parts of Queensland in previous years was issued by all 3 Telco’s.
    So when power goes out and cant recharge the phone it was possible for phones to last a week+.

  36. Darren says:

    Interesting reading, we run Ice and Water vending machines on 2g modems. It will be costly to change over (money we cannot waste) to 3g/4g so the 2 year limit left on 2g is unreal. What will happen to our communications on these vending machines if we don’t change over.Worried

  37. Craig B says:

    2 years notice is definitely not long enough notice.

    How long was the notice for analogue TV?

    • Jamie (Editor) says:

      Hey Craig, I’m sorry you feel like that. If it helps, analogue TV was a similar timeline (about half a year longer). A quick search tells me that the analogue switch off was announced on 30 June 2010, and finished on 10 December 2013. :)

  38. Craig Buckingham says:

    Jamie, I believe your dates are not correct. I understand the announcement was made by Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy on 18 December 2007. I make it around 6 years notice.

  39. BlueyT says:

    I have over 5000 devices using 2g. Approx 70% in customer accounts. Have never been contacted by Telstra regarding this issue. I’m hoping for a new career before this happens.

    • Boogle says:

      Hi Bluey T

      Comment to Jamie and Telstra et al…………..

      After Blueys Comment need we say more!!!!

    • TechnoTim says:

      Yeah -- wanna hear their answer to Blueys comment too….bring on the spin!

      • Steve says:

        We have 2000 units with 2G modems installed in vehicle tracking, including a lot of remote areas, so we will now need to redesign the system with the more expensive 3/4G modem, then recall 2000 vehicles to have the trackers replaced, this in some cases could cost more than the cost of the vehicle!

  40. Craig Buckingham says:

    I suggest as a contingency that Optus and Vodafone are consulted on their 2G services. Chances are the coverage may not be as wide as Telstra but may offer an alternative to Telstra’s poorly time-framed decision.

  41. Peter Harrington says:

    Will my security system backup GSM still work?
    Crow CS-47 link unit?
    Spec:
    GSM & GPRS communication -- via GSM Quad Band 900 / 1800 MHz or 850 / 1900 MHz modem based on Cinterion TC63i engine

    • Boogle says:

      No, like tens of thousands of similar devices.

      Spare a thought for Bluey T above, with 5000 Devices!!!

  42. Craig Buckingham says:

    I believe that some comments have gone missing. Relating to the time frame of phase out comparing the period to the analogue TV phase out.

    Jamie’s response was about 2 years, my response showed it was a little over 6 years.

    What happened to the comments?

  43. Boogle says:

    To Jamie (Editor)…..
    Are you still there? We all await the Telstra Response????

    Analog TV Announcement period was 6 years?

    BlueyT has 5000 2G M2M Devices?

    • Jamie (Editor) says:

      Hi Boogle, Again, thanks for your feedback. Everyone with Telstra services will be contacted in due time. Thanks, Jamie.

  44. DcRanger says:

    Thanks Craig for your post re the Analog to Digital FTA switch over announcement.

    Those of us in the industry were aware of this as far back as 2003 -- I made dam sure that all my customers, new and old were made very aware of what infrastructure was necessary to achieve a solid quality digital signal.

    I think we called this “Customer Service” something sadly lacking these days!!!!!!!

    The fact is that there are quiet a number of these affordable M2M gsm devices out there that, even if they are able to swap out the sim card the built in antenna is strictly gsm not wideband.

    I too believe that the phase out time frame is not long enough given that there are comments raised here re the lack of contact from the telco to the customers.

    Oh and Jamie, the fact is that most tech savy customers here in Australia will try to fault find via the web or if they choose to call for assistance, get put off by the off shore call center opperator.

    Just last week spoke with two customers who, up untill Dec 2014 had good Telstra gsm signal and now nothing so much for the 2016 marker!!! They called me to see if an exernal antenna would solve the problem based on the info they had been given by the off shore call enter operator WTF??????

    My sympathy goes out to Bluey with 5000 cliants potentialy dead in the water.

  45. Mark says:

    Telstra may not have sold any 2G phones lately but the latest Aldi catalog is selling an Android and a Windows phone that are 2G only. Furthermore Telstra is Aldi’s network provider and I’ve not seen any mention of the shutdown on the Aldi mobile website.

  46. Ryan says:

    I thought 3G services were no longer available on Telstra?
    I was told by a customer service representative that as per a year or two ago that only 2G and 4G is available.
    Like the SIM cards are only 2/4G as i understand.

    I sell alot of tracking devices that only operate on 2G, causes massive loss of sales next year due to this.
    Will have to recommend customers to Optus or Vodafone if they still running 2G

  47. Boogle says:

    Hello All,

    I have been monitoring this Blog almost since day one.

    The more I contemplate this so called announcement. Ask around the Telecomms industry, talk to Telstra employees and check Telstra’s Official website pages, I am convinced this whole so called announcement is a sham, a con at worst or at best a very unprofessional attempt by someone in Telstra to sound out the market.

    If Mike Wright (Managing Director -- Networks) is a real person (it seems that such a senior person would know much more about the use of the Networks he is supposed to be managing) and he is authorised to make such an announcement without due dilligence to ensure that the paying customers are appropriately informed in the appropriate forums, manner an official channels, it seems to me that he is possibly exposing Telstra to action by the ACCC for which Telstra would need to pay millions in compensation.

    This Forum (Blog) is not the appropriate place to make such an annoucement, which will have huge ramifications, without a significantly more public announcement (with clear explanation of the facts to the 2G GPRS Users) and a much longer lead time.

    I believe that the official announcement has NOT been made.

    I just had to check the date of the first post and check if it was the “1st of April” :)

    • Hi Boogle,

      As you’ve detected, 4GX is available in selected parts Kalgoorlie. The 4GX coverage area is shown on our online coverage mapping tool (http://www.telstra.com.au/mobile-phones/coverage-networks/our-coverage) -- you can see the map attached below. We’re also currently progressing deployment of 4GX on another two Kalgoorlie sites that should be in service by the end of June which will further extend our 4GX footprint here.

      In relation to our published coverage, it’s important to note that the coverage shown has been created using tools that predict the likely areas of coverage. Not every particular location within the identified coverage areas has been individually tested for coverage. This means that while the footprint of coverage outlined on the maps is generally accurate, there will be specific areas described as being within a coverage area where a customer’s device will not work. This is a common characteristic of wireless systems. For example, coverage could be degraded or not existent in specific locations due to certain physical structures or geographic features or as a result of the device used. Physical structures which may block or inhibit coverage could include basements, lifts, underground car parks, concrete buildings, tunnels and road cuttings. Geographic features which may block or inhibit coverage could include formations such as hills and mountains or even trees. We provide this and further related advice under the “things you need to know” tab found at our online coverage tool linked above.

      While your location at West Lamington falls just within the edge of our predicted coverage for 4GX, it is possible, for reasons outlined above, that your device is selecting the existing 4G on 1800MHz rather than the 4GX layer. Your device will pick up the strongest signal wherever you are in order to provide you with the best possible connection.

      On speed, for 4GX we advertise a typical speed range of 2Mbps -75Mbps (cat 4 devices) and 2Mbps -100Mbps (cat 6 devices). We have looked at the performance of our 4GX cells here and are confident that they are performing well and as expected and that they are delivering a significantly better speed experience on average (with 4GX devices) than the original 4G cells.

  48. Andrew S says:

    Still I await a USB Stick device that will work on 4g 700Mhz
    to be available in store Telstra Shops / Retailers.
    Also 2g closure thus will have to switch carriers for basic data devices to work on the 2g GSM network at least the other providers still will have 2g GSM available to be utilised.
    In hindsight would of thought a timeframe of closure would be 2020 vision for the closure of the GSM Network.

  49. Ryan says:

    Telstra, can you please advise me if you have 3G still available because i was told this was shut off completely
    a few years ago from your company and now that
    2G is shutting down that leaves only 4G.
    Can you please advise if this is correct?

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