Telstra will abandon a number of their customers using 2100Mhz 3G mobile phones when the telco switches off the 3GIS joint venture network run with Vodafone Hutchison Australia in 2012.
Telstra created the joint venture to establish a 3G network when Three Mobile entered the Australian market in 2004, the two mobile companies agreed to establish a 2100Mhz 3G network and invest equally in the 3GIS network which has a presence in metropolitan areas and capital cities. After entering into this agreement with Three Mobile (now Vodafone Hutchison Australia) Telstra committed to launch of its NextG mobile network using the 850Mhz license it acquired from the Federal Government.
Telstra customers who currently have 3G mobile phones that operate on the 3GIS network 2100Mhz spectrum (and not Telstra’s NextG 850Mhz network) will find their mobile phone roaming to Telstra’s GSM network, significantly affecting their download speeds, phone calls will not be affected, in addition video calling or Mobile FOXTEL will no longer work.
Telstra Chief Marketing Officer Kate McKenzie defended the change, saying the vast majority of Telstra customers were already using the NextG network.
“There is no change for customers on the Next G network and no change for customers in regional and rural Australia,” Ms McKenzie said. “The exit of the joint venture will go unnoticed by most of the customers still using the earlier network because their handsets will automatically roam to the GSM network for voice calls and SMS.”
Telstra will encourage owners of incompatible phones currently using the 3GIS network to upgrade to Next G handset before the VHA joint venture network is switched off. In general, if you have purchased a phone from Optus or Vodafone it will be optimised for their respective 900Mhz/2100Mhz networks, as such will not be compatible with Telstra Next G.
Vodafone Hutchinson Australia today announced a significant network upgrade, constructing an entirely new network on the same 850Mhz frequency as Telstra, currently 350 mobile sites are active on this new network, with 1,500 the goal for the Vodafone/Three Mobile joint venture.