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Telstra has announced it will be shutting down its 3G mobile network by June 2024 to pave the way for its 5G mobile network.

Over the next four years, Telstra will begin migrating current 3G mobile customers to the 4G network, with plans to repurpose the cellular spectrum to expand 4G and 5G coverage.

According to Telstra head of Network and IT, Nikos Katinakis, the 3G network accounts for less than 6% of Telstra’s daily traffic and is well past its use-by date.

Speaking at the CommsDay Melbourne Summit, Mr Katinakis said Telstra is ready to replace the 3G radio equipment with 5G which will allow the company to ‘maintain 3G services for the next five years but also use some of the spectrum for better 5G’.

Telstra 5G technology is currently available in ten cities around Australia with at least 35 cities expected to receive coverage in the next year.

Mr Katinakis is hopeful customers will notice an improvement in cellular speeds, as they work towards a migration plan to ensure customers are not left out as the 3G network is turned off.

In December 2016, the 2G network was discontinued by Telstra, who then repurposed the cellular spectrum to boost 4G mobile technology.

In the wake of the 3G network, Telstra will be ‘upgrading and expanding’ its 4G coverage to meet the ‘materially equivalent size and reach’ of the 3G footprint.

Currently, Telstra is the only telco in Australia to announce a full closure of its 3G network, despite both Optus and Vodafone closing down their 2G networks.

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