3G shutdown could cause disruptions for business

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By Published On: September 8, 20230 Comments

3G networks are set to be phased out at the end of the year and businesses operating older systems need to take action to avoid operational disruptions.

Australia’s 3G network is set to be shut off in stages starting in December and businesses using older POS systems, EFTPOS machines, security cameras, and vehicle monitoring systems could be at risk of facing huge operational disruptions and losses if they don’t update their systems in the coming months. 

20 years ago 3G was launched in Australia as groundbreaking technology, enabling roaming connectivity across networks and devices. While most devices now use 4G and 5G, even now millions of devices are reliant on 3G networks and some remote regions in the country are still reliant on the tech as their only option.  

It is being decommissioned to make way for 4G and 5G to take over the radio frequency bands and extend their faster coverage in a process called re-farming. Telstra has confirmed that it will commit to making sure its 4G network covers remote regions that require 3G before its shutdown next year.

Vodafone will be the first to disconnect its 3G network in December this year, followed by Telstra on June 30, 2024 and the Optus network in September 2024. 

Fujitsu is one of the companies leading the charge in informing Australian businesses of this change. Fujitsu Head of Industry – Retail, Clare Burden says, “It is likely that the closure of 3G networks will affect how you conduct business and interact with customers. Due to the significant impact this might have on businesses, we really want to make sure it is on everyone’s agenda. 

“While the move to 4G or 5G is not particularly challenging, business owners need to understand that it is more than just unplugging a device and connecting a new one. Depending on the size of your business and the number of 3G-connected devices, the upgrade could likely take months. We urge Aussie businesses to plan ahead and make this a priority to avoid potential disruptions,” says Burden.

Decommissioning exiting 3G devices should be done ASAP as this is a lengthy process that can incur costs, alongside the replacement and deployment of new devices which will need to be checked for compatibility with existing payment systems. If you are unsure whether your device needs updating, telecommunications providers suggest contacting your device manufacturer.

While the change will be inconvenient for some, the result will be a faster and more reliable connectivity. 

About the Author: Rosalea Catterson

Rosalea is the Editor of Power Retail. With a keen interest in consumer behaviour and tech, she covers everything ecommerce and hosts the Power Retail Power Talks Podcast.

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