29 May 2024

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Bruce Billson, has urged small, family and farming businesses to make sure they are not caught out by the 3G switch-off happening in August and September.

“The 3G switch-off will affect more than just your mobile phone signal,” Mr Billson said.

“It could affect EFTPOS terminals, security systems and cameras, scanners, industrial routers, tablets, smart watches, asset tracking tools, surveying instrument, water and environmental monitoring and many of the wireless operating systems on farms.”

“Even some 4G-enabled devices have aspects that are powered by 3G, but users may not realise until they stop working, so it makes sense to have those checked as well.

“It is vital small, family and farming businesses take action urgently to find out if they will be affected and if so, upgrade their technology before business-harming disconnection and technology dysfunction is the first they learn about it.”

Mr Billson said small businesses should contact their telecommunications provider or device manufacturer to confirm if a device will be affected.

“But beware of scams and only contact mobile providers using trusted information and links,” he said.

Telstra recently announced that it will delay its 3G network switch off until 31 August 2024. Optus is planning to switch off its 3G network from 1 September 2024. TPG Telecom/Vodafone has already switched off its 3G network. 

Those on the Telstra or Optus network can text “3” to the number 3498 and will receive a response whether that device is affected.

For more information:  

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association also has information at www.3gclosure.com.au and a fact sheet https://amta.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/3G-Closure-Fact-Sheet-new.pdf