Best 2G replacement phones and plans

Alex Kidman 31 July 2017

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Looking for a replacement handset or plan for your old defunct 2G mobile?

Telstra started the ball rolling with 2G shutdowns when it ceased service on 1 December 2016 followed by Optus which ceased services for 2G customers in WA and the NT on 3 April 2017 before a total shutdown of all 2G services nationwide from 1 August 2017. Vodafone's 2G services will all shut off on 30 September 2017.

What this means in practical terms is that your 2G phone is either already dead, or it's on its last legs. What you need to do is replace your older handset with a phone that's at least 3G-capable, although almost anything you could buy now is likely to be compatible with both 3G and 4G networks.

Will I need a new plan?

If you've been ploughing along on a 2G service with the same plan you had the phone on contract with, then you're almost certainly paying way too much for your service. Your existing provider should be happy to provide you with a new 3G-compatible SIM on the same terms, but that's going to be a waste of money, because you could get so much more service for the same kind of money.

If you are a proud 2G-toting mobile user, the chances are high that calls and texts are your high usage needs, and keeping to a strict budget is a must. Here's a rundown of available contract SIM-only plans in Australia for $20 per month or less.

What about handsets?

Your 2G handset isn't going to be much use for anything besides an alarm clock (if it even has that feature), so you'll need a new handset.

Now here the sky's the limit, and if you feel like treating yourself, check out our list of the best phones of 2017, all of which are available on contract through various carriers. 2017 has seen some exceptional high-end handsets, and if it has been a while since you updated your phone, you'll be very pleasantly surprised by what a premium phone can do.

However if you're looking for a handset with the lowest possible hit to your hip pocket, what you need is a simple prepaid phone. Here's a rundown of the currently available budget prepaid handsets from each of the major carriers:

HandsetPriceFeaturesCarrier
TelstraCruise_75Telstra Cruise$35VGA camera, 128MB memoryTelstra
Telstra4GXSmart_75

Telstra 4GX Smart

$694GX support, 8GB storage, 5MP cameraTelstra
AlcatelOneTouch2036_75

Alcatel OneTouch 2036 3G

$29VGA camera, 128MB memoryVodafone
OptusXLiteOptus X Lite$293G only, VGA Camera, music playerOptus
Doro623_75Doro 623$1193G only, 2MP Camera, music playerOptus

Bear in mind that some of these phones may be locked to their respective carrier network. That does usually mean that they'll also work with MVNOs that use the same network, but that's not always the case.

As for your old 2G handset, once you're up and running with your new device, don't forget to responsibly recycle your old phone.

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