Free phones ahead of 3G shut-down

July 2, 2024 BY

Preparations: The 3G mobile phone network will cease operation at the end of winter. Photo: SUPPLIED

TELSTRA is distributing thousands of complimentary phones to customers who are disadvantaged, in remote areas, or elderly as the 3G network will be shutting down at the end of August.

Consumer segment executive Marty McGrath said people who face challenging circumstances like a life threatening medical condition or financial hardship, and those who live a long way from a phone shop have been selected to receive an up-to-date phone.

“These customers we’ve selected, we’ll be reaching out to them proactively, they’ll get the device in the mail, a charger, and instructions about how to move their sim card from the old device to the new device,” he said.

“We’re also sending them similar devices that they’re used to, so if you use a flip phone, we’ll send you a flip phone to make that transition easy.”

Mr McGrath said if people are unsure whether the 3G shutdown will affect them, there are things to note.

“If you make a call from an impacted device, a prerecorded message will play, letting you know you’re impacted or you can text 3 to 3498 and we’ll send you an SMS back letting you know if you’re impacted,” he said.

“You can also go online, come into store, or give us a call. We’re here to help.”

The 3G network closure is scheduled for 31 August this year, and it’s expected that Telstra will upgrade 12,000 mobile devices for free between now and then.

“This initiative will benefit the most vulnerable members of our community,” said The Salvation Army’s Major Brendan Nottle.

“Connection is one of the most important things to maintain in our society, whether it is with friends and family or with housing and support services.

“Ensuring that every Australian, from any background or level of income, can take part in our modern digital society is crucial.

“A phone can be a gateway to social inclusion, community connection and support, and with the upcoming closure of 3G networks in Australia it is important for us to reach out and ensure that this can continue for everyone.”