Telstra flags 3G switch off planned for 2024

Spectrum to be shifted across to 5G services.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Australia's incumbent telco Telstra has announced it is planning to switch off its 3G network in June 2024 and refarm the spectrum for its 5G network.

The telco said until that time, it would look to boost its 4G coverage to a "materially equivalent size and reach" compared to the 3G network. To achieve this, Telstra will look at areas serviced only by 3G and assess its product portfolio, the company said.

Telstra switched on its 3G network in 2006. The 3G network initially operated in the 850Hz band before it was upgraded in 2010.

In 2008, the telco switched off its CDMA network to provide extra spectrum for its 3G network.

Similarly, it shuttered its 2G network in December 2016 and refarmed the spectrum for 4G.

5G services were switched on by Telstra a year ago, with the launch covering 50 base stations.

The telco expects 5G to be a strong growth engine, CEO Andy Penn said during the company's annual retail shareholder day last month.

"ARPUs tend to increase, particularly in the early stages of a rollout," Penn said. "So we see that happening in 5G as well as we look forward over the next couple of years."

Penn added that with second generation 5G chips heading into devices later this year, the company expects 5G uptake to increase.

"I think what history has shown us is that, as we put these technologies in the hands of our customers, they respond very positively and it's tended to lead to improvement in revenues across the industry," he said.

Telstra announced in May that it would charge customers AU$15 per month for 5G connectivity on some of its plans next year.

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