First Telstra, now Optus.
Optus has announced that it is commencing its 2G shutdown, with the first services being withdrawn as from April 3. Services in the Northern Territory and Western Australia will be the first to be affected, with a full service shutdown scheduled for completion by the end of August.
Telstra shut down its 2G network last year and Vodafone has said it will cease 2G services in September. All carriers have experienced the same fall-off in 2G usage as customers switch to 3G and 4G based smartphone services.
Indeed voice is increasingly an “add-on” in mobiles, with data now typically accounting for an ever-increasing proportion of total usage.
Mobile phones are now the most popular way of accessing the internet in Australia and mobile data traffic is predicted to grow tenfold in the next five to six years, with video traffic accounting for three quarters of this growth.
In 1991, when the first licences specifically for mobile were issued in Australia, 2G was still in its infancy. That time now seems a world away, such is the pace of technological change that has occurred – and is continuing to occur – since.