Last month, with no warning, Telstra quietly announced it would be turning off the 3G network in June 2024. Telstra says they are carefully planning the switch so they don’t compromise customer experience. They also want to improve their coverage map and ensure the change benefits regional, rural and remote regions of Australia. Today we are going to discuss the history of network coverage in Australia, why the switch is being made, and how it will impact our valued Medi Alarm customers.
The Evolution of the Telstra Network
In 1987 Telstra introduced the 1G network. 1G, also known as AMPS, only allowed for mobile phone voice calling. In 1993 Telstra introduced 2G or GSM. This combined voice, SMS and MMS on digital networks. This, in turn, enabled the growth of mobile communications. Between 2005 and 2006 Telstra introduced 3G, also known as WCDMA or HSPA. This was the foundation of mobile broadband and supported voice, data, video calls, and basic internet access. This system operated in the 850Hz band until upgrades in 2010.
In 2008, Telstra turned off the CDMA network in order to provide infrastructure and spectrum for 3G. in 2011 Telstra introduced 4G (LTE) which offered higher data speeds than 3G. It also allowed for full internet access, higher resolution video calls, video streaming and entertainment, IP telephony and improved IoT capabilities. In December 2016, the 2G network was turned off to provide more spectrum and infrastructure for 4G.
Between 2019 and May 2020, Telstra switched on 5G with 50 base stations. 5G promises even higher data speeds, lower latency, and more capacity. It also lends support to AI, automation, cloud apps, and massive sensor networks. This early adoption makes Australia a 5G pioneer, putting us on the cusp of mobile technology world-wide. With increased adoption of 4G and 5G equipment, the use of 3G has declined globally. Telstra needs to switch off this older, 3G technology so the spectrum and infrastructure can be repurposed to further grow the 5G network.
Why the Switch to 5G?
While 3G worked well, it now needs to be repurposed for 4G and 5G to provide better connectivity going forward. Data use is increasing which means we need higher data speeds. This allows Telstra to invest in the evolution of the network. This is not just about connectivity in cities, streaming or entertainment, Telstra is hoping to also grow regional economies. Telstra believes 4G could help reduce black spots and allow people to travel further. In turn, this also allows regional, rural and remote users to access more data. It also potentially allows regional areas to be repopulated. With improved connectivity, Australian could potentially work remotely in regional and rural communities. Further, this would improve mobile coverage across vast farming properties, to improve connection, community and safety for farming communities.
Since 2018 there has been a 50% growth in data consumption. By 2022 80% of mobile traffic will be video-based content. And by 2023 20 billion interconnected IoT devices will exist. So it is important to close down 3G to provide spectrum, infrastructure and resources to grow 4G and 5G networks. Telstra intend to ensure all areas currently being serviced by 3G will be serviced by 4G or 5G by the time 3G is decommissioned in 2024. Between now and June 2024 the 4G network will be upgraded and expanded to cover the size and reach of the 3G network. It is critical to have connectivity across the land. Australia needs to be connected.
How This Affects You!
By moving to 4G and 5G there is potential for more capacity, lower latency, and high-data speeds for mobile devices. This means you can access real time data on the go. Telstra says users will notice a substantial improvement in speed. This period of 4 and a half years gives users the chance to migrate to faster and advanced services.
However, after June 2024 3G devices won’t work. This includes devices with non-4G voice calling enabled – they will no longer be able to make voice calls. It also means that the Medi Alarm 3G Fall Monitor will no longer work after June 2024. Medi Alarm utilises the Telstra network for the best coverage Australia wide. Which is why we have introduced the Medi Alarm Pro 4G.
Why Choose the Medi Alarm Pro 4G?
The award-winning Medi Alarm 3G fall detector was the first of its kind on the market. Now we have developed the Medi Alarm Pro 4G, the only true 4G alarm on the market. The 2020 model can be activated either via the SOS button or when it detects a fall. Like the 3G fall detector the 4G Pro will, upon activation:
- Call up to 8 contacts of your choice
- It will call each contact, one by one, until someone answers
- Sends a text message to each contact with GPS location
- Features Swiss Precision GPS
- Allows you to go almost anywhere safely
- Features 4G Australia wide coverage
- Automatic fall detection
- 2-way, hands free communication with crystal clear sound
- Works anywhere, not just at home
- We can program the device for you with your choice of emergency contacts
- Ongoing customer support provided
The 4G Pro also has new features when compared with the 3G Fall Detector:
- An LCD display showing battery level, date, time, and signal strength
- Longer battery life – 25 min recharge and lasts up to 3 days
- Accurate, Swiss precision GPS tracker
- Improved automatic fall detection functions
- Louder and adjustable volume control
- IP67 waterproof – allowing wear in rain or shower
- An operate on any SIM provider
By utilising the Swiss precision GPS, all help text messages contain a link to Google Maps displaying the location of the wearer. Thanks to the 4G network, this location is accurate to within 2.5 metres. And with extensive 4G coverage, the device will work anywhere there is a GPS signal or 4G or 3G coverage (3G until June 2024). You can also send a text message to the device to receive the location of the wearer, at any time, on Google Maps.
The device also has a Wandering feature for those at risk of wandering. The Geo Fencing option allows a text message warning to be sent if the wearer moves outside the defined area. Finally, the secondary real0time tracking provided by Cell Locate on the cellular network allows tracking of the wearer even in shielded environments, like the indoors or parking structures.
If you or your loved one are currently using the 3G Fall Detector, it is important to begin the transfer to the 4G Pro before the June 2024 deadline. The sooner you update your technology, the better. Contact our team at Medi Alarm today to improve the security and safety of your loved ones today.