Ombudsman urges small businesses to prepare for 3G network shutdown

- May 31, 2024 < 1 MIN READ


Australia’s 3G networks are closing down, a move that could significantly impact small businesses, according to Bruce Billson, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.

Speaking with Becc Chave at ABC, Billson highlighted that while many businesses are aware of the impending shutdown, the impact on various operational technologies might be overlooked.

“It’s not just about phones,” Billson warned. “A lot of technology used in small, family, and farming businesses—like old EFTPOS machines, security cameras, and asset tracking tools—relies on 3G. These devices might stop working when the network is shut off.”

Impact of 3G shutdown goes beyond phones

Billson explained the transition from 3G to newer networks like 4G and 5G will not only affect connectivity but also incur additional costs for businesses.

“For many, this will be an unwelcome expense. Small business margins are already tight, and replacing equipment to adapt to the new networks can be costly.”

Billson also pointed out the broader reach of 3G, which has been beneficial in rural and remote areas.

“3G has a longer reach, which is crucial for emergency calls and remote monitoring systems,” he said. “Switching to 4G or 5G might mean less coverage in these areas, creating potential vulnerabilities.”

Take precautions now

Billson urged business owners to check their devices and consult with their suppliers and telecom providers to avoid disruptions.

“Don’t be a casualty of the 3G shut-off. Make sure you’re aware of what beyond your phone handset may be affected,” he said

Optus plans to switch off its 3G network on September 1, while Telstra will follow on August 31. TPG and Vodafone have already shut down their 3G networks. Billson’s message is clear: prepare now to avoid future issues.

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