Optus plans to reallocate the 2100 MHz spectrum currently used for 3G services to its 4G and 5G networks in April of next year.
This means that the phone company will no longer offer a dual-band 3G network after April 2022, with 3G services to be offered only through its 900 MHz spectrum.
Optus said some of the 2100 MHz assets will be reallocated as part of a network technology refresh to provide better 4G network coverage and support 5G growth.
He urged customers with a 3G-only 2100 MHz device to upgrade to a 4G or 5G capable device to continue accessing his network.
Customers of Optus Wholesale service providers using the 2100 MHz network will also be affected, the phone company said.
Telstra deactivated its 2100 MHz spectrum in March 2019, while Vodafone gradually rolled out 3G connectivity to its 2100 MHz spectrum.
Optus Networks chief executive Lambo Kanagaratnam said the planned refresh comes as customers increasingly embrace 5G devices.
“Over the past 12 months, we’ve really seen our customers embrace 5G technology with a significant increase in the number of 5G-enabled devices,” he said in a statement.
Kanagaratnam said that with the continued increase in data usage, the reallocation would ensure that “spectrum assets work well for customers.”
“We know our customers are using more data than ever. They download, share and stream content, use apps and connect virtually with friends and colleagues, ”he said.
“In order to meet this thirst for connectivity, it is essential that we evolve our network and redeploying our 2100 MHz spectrum assets to better adapt to next-generation technologies is an important step in achieving this. “
Optus plans to contact customers impacted by the scheduled shutdown of its 3G network on the 2100 MHz spectrum in the coming months.
“It is important to note that we are providing 12 months notice to ensure affected customers are aware of our plans and have sufficient time to upgrade to newer devices that can support 4G or 5G.” Kanagaratnam added.