Telstra, the largest mobile operator in Australia, announced plans to turn off its 3G network in June 2024, to free up spectrum to expand its 4G and 5G coverage.

In a statement, the operator drew parallels with previous technology shutdowns, specifically turning off its CDMA network and repurposing “850MHz spectrum for 3G services”. It explained closing its 3G network would enable it to “again repurpose this same spectrum to 5G”.

Telstra introduced 5G service in May. It said the technology is now available in selected areas of ten cities, with plans to increase coverage to at least 35 cities.

Before its 3G network is decommissioned, Telstra said it will upgrade and expand 4G coverage to match the reach of its 3G footprint.

Data from GSMA Intelligence showed the operator had 2.2 million 3G subscribers at end-September, representing 13.3 per cent of it its total user base.

The operator turned off its 2G network in December 2016 to free up spectrum for 4G services. It launched 3G service in 2006.