Telstra Delays 3G Network Shutdown: Impact on Emergency Calls and Support Measures for Customers

Telstra Delays 3G Network Shutdown

Telstra Delays 3G Network Shutdown, Addresses Emergency Calls Concerns

**Concerns Raised About Emergency Access**

Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunications company, has announced a two-month delay in the scheduled shutdown of its 3G network, originally set for June 30, 2024. This decision addresses concerns raised about the impact on emergency calls, as some older 4G handsets rely on 3G for these calls.

**Impact on Emergency Services**

Many Australians still use 3G-enabled devices, including mobile phones and medical devices. The shutdown could have disrupted their ability to call emergency services by dialing Triple Zero in an emergency situation. Telstra CEO Vicki Brady emphasized, “If you’re still using an impacted device after August 31, you won’t be able to call Triple Zero for emergency help.”

**Steps Taken by Telstra**

To mitigate these concerns, Telstra is taking several steps to support customers affected by the delay:

* **Extended Deadline:** The shutdown has been postponed until August 31, 2024.
* **Upgrade Reminders:** Customers who need to upgrade their devices will receive SMS messages and hear outbound call notifications reminding them to do so.
* **Free Device Check:** Customers can text “3” to 3498 to determine if their device requires an upgrade.
* **Increased Support for Grey Market Devices:** Telstra will assist customers using overseas-purchased (grey market) devices that may not be compatible with the network after the shutdown.
* **Working Group with Government and Industry:** Telstra is collaborating with government agencies, other carriers (Optus, TPG), and the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association to ensure customers are adequately informed and supported.

**Customers Urged to Act**

Minister for Communications, the Hon. Michelle Rowland, advised customers to check their devices and upgrade if necessary, emphasizing that some may not realize the issue until it’s too late. Telstra CEO Brady also urged customers to take action promptly, highlighting the importance of repurposing the 3G spectrum for improved connectivity.

**Positive Response from Rural Australians**

The delay was welcomed by farmers and others in rural areas who rely on the 3G network for machinery and communication. NSW Farmers spokeswoman Deb Charlton expressed relief, stating that the shutdown would have been “a disaster for many in the bush” without proper support.

By Deepika

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