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Hold up: what's 3G?

3G is a type of technology that lets us make calls, send texts and connect to mobile internet. The ‘3’ stands for ‘third’ and the ‘G’ stands for ‘generation’ – that is, it’s the third generation of mobile technology.

Each generation is like a language. 3G phones know how to speak to the 3G network, but since then, we’ve created the 4G and 5G networks too. 3G phones were made before these new languages existed, so they don’t have the tech to speak them.

That means when 3G closes, 3G phones won’t have a mobile network to speak to. It will also affect some 4G phones that use 3G for certain things.

What happens ahead of the closure on 31 August

  • We check devices

    We’ll look for devices that won’t work at all after the closure, and ones that won’t be able to make calls – including to 000.

  • You check your emails

    If we think your device will be affected, we’ll let you know what you need to do.

  • Get your device ready

    You might need to change a setting, update software, or upgrade to a newer device.

  • Keep your SIM

    If you get a new device, your SIM, plan and number stay the same – just transfer your SIM across when you’re ready.

Device checker

You can also send us a text to find out if your phone is affected. Here’s how:

  1. Use the phone you want to check

  2. Send SMS to 3498 with the message '3G'

  3. We’ll send a reply to let you know if your phone is affected

If you can’t send a message from your device, look for an email or text from us instead – we’re reaching out to all affected customers directly. You can also contact us and we'll look your device up at our end.

Heads up: because we limit how often we check handset data, this tool is best to use with a phone you’ve been using for at least two weeks.

Why 3G is closing down

Just like when Telstra closed the 2G network in 2016, it comes down to putting our resources into faster and more reliable mobile technology.

The 3G closure will free up frequencies that lets 5G transmit over longer distances, to more places. 5G offers better speeds, reliability and call quality.

3G closure FAQs