• Learn whether your phone will be impacted by the 3G shutdown
  • The 3G shutdown will impact 4G phones
  • Find out whether your phone is impacted

As Australia moves closer to shutting down its 3G network this year, owners of older phones may face issues with their voice capability, which relies on older technology. Vodafone has already turned off its 3G network and Telstra and Optus will do so in June and September, respectively. This switch may affect customers who are still using 3G or are unaware that their phone relies on it.

The concern is not just for 3G handsets but also for older 4G phones, as early 4G devices used 3G networks for voice calls. While newer 4G phones can use Voice over LTE (VoLTE) to make calls over the 4G data network, older 4G devices may not have this capability, leading to potential issues for their owners.

When Telstra and Optus shut down its 3G networks, older 4G devices with 3G voice systems won't be able to make voice calls, and 3G devices won't connect to the networks at all. This means these devices won't be able to make any voice calls, including emergency calls.

Will the 3G shutdown affect 4G phones?

Not all 4G phones will be affected, but some older models will lose their ability to make phone calls due to how they handle calls.

These older devices, including early 4G phones and those designed as 3G devices, rely on the 3G network for voice calls.

If you own one of these older devices, your only option will be to upgrade to a newer model. This is a hardware limitation and not something that can be fixed by Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, or the government.

What about data access?

The 3G shutdown will impact data access on 4G phones, but it will only affect the slower 3G access, not the faster 4G access. If you have a 5G phone that supports 3G, it will also lose 3G data access.

This means that when the 3G service is switched off, 5G phones can only access data on 4G and 5G networks, both of which are faster than 3G.

If you normally see a 3G connection for data access, you'll no longer see that when 3G is switched off. Instead, the lowest connection type will be a 4G service.

For some users, this change could be problematic, but telco network maps can provide a clear picture of what to expect.

A list of phones affected by 3G shutdown

To determine if your phone might be affected by the 3G shutdown, consider its age. While most impacted handsets will be older models, it's estimated that up to 740,000 devices in Australia could be affected, potentially leading to delays in the shutdown if deemed necessary by the government.

Upgrading to a new phone is the most straightforward solution, but first, you need to identify your current device. Telstra has indicated that potentially impacted devices could include, but may not be limited to:

  • Apple iPhones released before 2015
  • Samsung Galaxy phones released before 2017
  • Google Pixel phones released before 2018
  • Other Android devices released before 2020




iPhone 5
iPhone 5C
iPhone 5S
Galaxy S5
Galaxy S6 X
Galaxy S6 Edge X
Galaxy Note 4
Galaxy Pixel 2 XL X
Huawei Y6 Prime X
Optus X Smart 4G X

What about Vodafone phones?

Vodafone has already completed the shutdown of its 3G network, finishing the deactivation process in January after starting in December of the previous year.

Phones that support Voice over LTE (VoLTE) have been available for several years across various price ranges. For instance, every iPhone from the iPhone 6 and newer supports VoLTE. On Android phones that support VoLTE, you will see a VoLTE icon next to the 4G or 5G icon when connected to a mobile network.

Other devices

There are other devices that may be affected by the 3G shutdown that aren’t phones: 

  • iPad Air
  • iPad Retina
  • iPad mini Retina
  • iPad mini
  • iPad mini 3

What are my options if my phone is affected by the 3G shutdown?

If your phone is impacted by the 3G shutdown, your primary option is to purchase a new phone. Unfortunately, carriers are not offering specific financial assistance to those affected by the 3G phase-out. However, there are numerous deals available that can help you save on your next phone.

Carriers often offer the best deals to new customers who are switching from another carrier. Therefore, it might be a good time to shop around and see if you can find a better plan and save on your next phone. 

If you want to get to know your hardware options after the shutdown, talk to the team at Compare Broadband. We can recommend different options for you that work.