Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for 3G – well in a few years anyway. 3G has served Australians well, but it’s time to start saying a long goodbye and fully embracing a 4G/5G future.
Telstra’s 3G technology (aka NextG) was commissioned way back in 2006. As Telstra seeks to expand its 4G and 5G coverage, the telco has given a date for the switch-off of 3G. But those still reliant on it for whatever reason don’t need to be alarmed, as this won’t occur until June 2024.
“To help continue enhancing the network, it will eventually mean our older network technology will need to be switched off, so the spectrum that is used to carry data and voice calls over our oldest mobile network technology can be repurposed to help grow 5G,” stated Telstra in an announcement on Tuesday.
Telstra had already ended 3G connectivity on its 2100MHz spectrum back in March this year, so services are continuing on 850MHz.
As for the other carriers; Vodafone has been phasing out 3G connectivity on its 2100MHz spectrum this year, but will continue to operate 3G services on 900MHz for an unspecified period. In the case of Optus, there’s no news as yet.
Telstra Excited About 5G
Telstra says 5G will bring ever greater advancements in areas including virtual reality experiences and HD conferencing. As we’ve seen over the decades with communications technology, there will no doubt be applications developed needing what 5G can deliver that we haven’t even dreamed up yet.
But as well as mobile broadband, 5G promises exciting things for fixed wireless broadband. In fact, the future is already here. Lightning Broadband began rolling out 5G fixed wireless technology last year, and it was among the first Internet Service Providers in Australia to do so.
In a fixed wireless broadband situation, 5G can easily achieve speeds of 1,000 Mbps – more than twelve times faster than a high-end NBN plan (~80Mps evening speeds)
Along with the excited chatter about 5G, there are also concerns being expressed by some in relation to safety – similar to the concerns that were raised regarding 4G, 3G and the technologies that preceded. We’ve written a little about 5G and health here.