What you need to know
- 2G networks in Australia have stopped operating since 2018.
- 2G phones and SIM cards no longer work in Australia.
- You will need to upgrade to a 3G/4G SIM card if you wish to continue making calls and texts.
Having been superseded by the faster 3G and 4G networks in 2003 and 2013 respectively, 2G began saying its goodbyes in 2016 before going completely offline in 2018.
Telstra shutdown its mainland 2G network in 2016. It was the first telco to move completely to the 3G/4G network and has the widest coverage in Australia, covering 99.5% of the population.
Telstra is currently expanding its 5G network across Australia, which is covering 80% of Australians as of January 2023.
Optus followed Telstra's lead a year later and shutdown its 2G network in 2017. Its 3G/4G network now covers 98.5% of Australians.
Vodafone was supposed to switch off its 2G network in September 2017, but a raft of delays saw it keep its 2G network alive until June 2018.
Vodafone has the smallest 3G/4G network in Australia, covering 96% of the population.
For the most part, the death of 2G has little impact on the average Aussie. Modern phones are built to operate over 3G and 4G networks, and Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all boast 3G/4G coverage to over 96% of the Australian population.
That being said, if you still have an old 2G phone, you'll need to upgrade to a 3G or 4G device if you wish to use it in Australia.
All mobile plans in Australia now run on the 3G/4G network so once you have a phone capable of connecting to the new networks, you'll be able to make phone calls and texts again.
If you've been hanging onto an old 2G SIM card, the sad fact is that it will no longer do you much good. Even if you have a 2G-compatible handset, you won't get any reception or connectivity by slotting in that 2G SIM card. That means no calls, no texts and no internet access since there is no longer a 2G network to connect to.
Your only option is to purchase a new 3G or 4G SIM card and request to have your old phone number ported over to your new plan, assuming you want to keep that same number.
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