Optus will turn off its 2G network across Australia completely on 1 August, in a move allowing the operator to re-allocate some of the spectrum and “investigate emerging technologies such as 5G”.
The country’s number two operator said in a statement it would complete the second and final phase of its 2G shutdown at the start of next month, after turning off the network in the country’s northern territory and across Western Australia in April.
The move comes after “2G capabilities became eclipsed by 3G and 4G”, said the operator, while adding that Virgin Mobile and Optus Wholesale service providers using the company’s 2G GSM network will also be affected.
Dennis Wong, managing director of networks at Optus, said its priority through the process had been to ensure 2G customers were prepared for the change, and were equally prepared to transition to 3G and 4G.
“There is no doubt that the 2G network, which was first established in 1993, played an important role in our network, particularly when we were first establishing ourselves across Australia,” he said.
Wong added that it was “now the right time to close the 2G network”, given decreasing customer levels and advancements in 4G which were “driving customer preferences for mobile data and faster speeds”.
Many countries across Asia are turning off 2G. Earlier this month, Taiwan joined a growing list of developed markets where mobile operators are discontinuing their 2G services. In December last year, Optus’ largest rival Telstra closed its 2G network, as have operators in Singapore, Japan and South Korea.