Optus turning off 2G network in April 2017

Optus today announced that it will shut down its 2G GSM network from the beginning April 2017, citing significant declines in 2G traffic "year on year".

"Greater smartphone usage and advances in 4G technology are driving customer preferences for more mobile data and faster speeds and there has been a steady decline in 2G traffic and customers in the last few years," said Optus Acting Managing Director Dennis Wong.

"2G now constitutes a fraction of our total mobile network traffic and is declining significantly year on year. Mobile service providers globally, including in Australia and our parent company Singtel in Singapore, are closing down 2G networks to support newer technologies."

Wong says that Optus will reach out to affected customers closer to the closure to assist with the transition. For some, upgrading to 3G may be as a simple as a SIM change.

Optus resellers including Virgin Mobile and Amaysim will lose access to the 2G spectrum as part of the shutdown.

After the network’s closure, Optus plans to re-allocate the spectrum to "improve customer experience and mobile services".

Telstra last year announced that it will turn off its own 2G network by the end of 2016, saying that 2G traffic accounts for less than 1% of the network's total traffic.

Phones connected to a 2G network can be identified by a 2G, GPRS, Edge or E icon, commonly found in the top right or left hand corner of the screen.

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