Following our announcement more than a year ago, Optus has been busy planning and preparing for the closure of our 2G mobile network from 1 April 2017.
Although it’s an exciting time to push forward with our newer and faster 3G and 4G networks, it’s also an important time to reflect on what life with 2G has been like for over 20 years for Optus customers and Optus Wholesale.
In 1993 we launched Optus’ 2G mobile network, providing basic voice and text messaging services to Australian customers and wholesale partners and their customers. While lots have changed since then - moving from analogue to digital – we have worked tirelessly, and continue to do so, to put basic voice and text message services into the hands of as many Australians as possible.
So it begs the question, why after more than two decades of reliability are we closing down our 2G services?
When comparing the life-cycle of modern technology, the longevity of 2G services has been incredible. But with the current pace of change – 3G first introduced in 2007, 4G in 2011 and 5G scheduled to come in around 2020 – there has been a steady decline in 2G traffic. Customers want new devices, more mobile data and faster speeds.
Despite there being a natural migration to newer services, we know there are still a few of our customers and wholesale partners’ customer base using 2G services with no concrete plan to move on. With this in mind, our focus now is on supporting those 2G customers and helping our wholesale partners prepare their own customers for this change, whilst ensuring they have sufficient time to upgrade their service.
It’s critical that our customers - both the general public and wholesale - understand the benefits of upgrading their service and utilising the Optus network. Optus has a proud history of delivering quality network services across Australia and in recent years we’ve made substantial investments in technologies such as 1x FDD + 2x TDD carrier aggregation, 4.5G and 1800 MHz spectrum bands to continue to provide the level of coverage customers demand and expect.
As we look towards next year’s 2G closure, the priority for us now is to prepare customers and our wholesale partners and their customers for this change and ensure they have sufficient time to upgrade to newer devices. For our wholesale partners, this means they’ll need to pre-emptively start providing new SIM cards to customers still using 2G SIMs and we need to continue to listen and help our partners and their customers make future-proof hardware purchases. Optus and Optus Wholesale will continue to have open lines of communication to reassure and support our customers and our wholesale partners and their customers during this transition.
But even if the next few months provide a level of uncertainty for 2G customers, it’s vital we remember and reiterate the exciting opportunities and capabilities 3G and 4G services present. In today’s digital world, both customers and enterprises view mobile as their primary device and want to be connected at any place, at any time. 3G and 4G enable voice and video calling, secure-file transmission, internet browsing, online high definition streaming, online gaming and much more.
Optus’ mission is to be at the forefront of mobile technology and mobile service provision, which is why both our customers and wholesale partners and their customers can have confidence we will continue to invest in building and scaling our network for the future so we can all grow together.
No matter what the future holds, we will see all our customers through the 2G transition and many more exciting changes to come.
If you have any questions about what I've written here, I'd love to hear them - just leave your comment below.
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