Seniors and Smartphones: Get ready for the 2G network shutdown

There’s no denying the logic behind keeping the same mobile phone for the better half of two decades. If you don’t plan on taking selfies, then why fork out for a device with the best front facing camera, or, a camera at all? If you’re able to make and receive calls/texts, why pay for elaborate features you won’t be using? 

For those who have held the same phone for an extended period of time (I’m talking flip phones or anything with old school games such as ‘snake’ installed), it’s time you treated yourself to an upgrade.

On December 1st, Telstra will be switching off its 2G network, rendering Australia’s most basic phones as, effectively, useless. All other providers will be following suit in 2017 with Optus pulling its 2G connection on April 1st and Vodafone ceasing services on September 30th. If you’re with another brand, it’s actually a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) running on one of those networks. You can view which brands use which network below. 

Telstra's network is used by these brands:

Telstra, Boost, ALDIMobile, Better Life Mobile, Cmobile (Blue), Lycamobile, MeU Mobile, Southern, Telechoice, Think (Classic), Woolworths Mobile

Optus' network is used by these brands:

Optus, Virgin Mobile, amaysim, Barefoot Telecom, Bendigo Bank Telecom, Coles Mobile, Dodo, Exetel, Jeenee, iiNet, LiveConnected, OVO, Southern, Vaya, Yomojo

Vodafone's network is used by these brands:

Vodafone, Cmobile (Red), Hello Mobile, GoTalk, KISS Mobile, Kogan Mobile, Lebara, TPG, Think (Ultimate, Swift, Simple 12),

The decommissioning of the 2G network will mean that although you’ll still able to play snake. However you won’t be able to make calls, send or recieve texts after your network’s shut off date..

There’s never been a better time to consider upgrading, as you’re going to require a replacement phone connected to the 3G or 4G network before the battery dies on the one you own!

Upgrade Now:

The good news that upgrading to a new handset can be relatively cheap and you’re able to keep the same number.

op into your telco for a run down on your options and don’t leave it to the last minute. With thousands of Aussies yet to convert networks, you can bet that the best options won’t be on the shelves and available to latecomers.

Compare Your Options:

Whilst it’s great to get advice from the salespeople at your local telco, keep in mind your requirements before purchasing their first suggestion. Modern handsets can come equipped with all sorts of fancy features and you could end up walking away with a device too extravagant for your needs.

Make sure to shop around and compare your options; consider different handsets, plans and carriers. Don’t forget to discuss ongoing costs if signing up to a plan, as despite an initial low purchase price, you could still be hit with excessive monthly charges.

Preserve Information:

Your new device won’t be able to accept your old sim card, therefore, if you want to keep the same contacts or transfer existing content, you’re going to have to back up the information on your current phone. 

If you’re extremely organised, and have the data cable that was provided with your phone when you first received it, you may be able to transfer your device’s information onto a computer. Your new handset’s packaging will come with compatible cords that’ll allow you to retrieve the transferred information.

Alternatively, a visit to your manufacturer’s page will advise you of the best route for tracking down connection software. If all else fails, a simple pen and paper solution for writing down the numbers you want to store on your new phone is an easy, low tech solution to the problem!

Embrace Change:

A new piece of technology is difficult to decipher, no matter your age. It’s likely you’ll feel lost trying to navigate your way about your new mobile phone... accept it. Perhaps you’ve advanced from buttons to a touch screen and you’ve accidently begun recording yourself instead of calling your daughter. It’ll take a while to familiarise yourself with the new features of your phone, but soon enough you’ll be sending snapchats to the grandkids -- just in time for the 3G cut off.

Alex Kidman is the Telco Expert at finder.com.au

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