Be afraid ! The amazing way the 2G network shutdown will affect you !

2G coverage - signal

It might be news to you but things are changing. first, Telstra and last, Vodaofne are going to shut down of the 2G networks around Australia. What does this mean for users with older mobile phones ? How will people be affected? What can you do about it ?

  • If your 2G network has been shut down, this page describes the options you have.
  • Aussies with older mobile phones will need to upgrade to modern ‘feature’ phone or ‘smart’ phones.
  • Whatever you choose has to be at least 3G capable. (We define 3G and 4G below with links to more information)
  • There is a lot of choice in the market, thanks to MVNOs and PAYG prepaid plan options.
  • These changes need not cost you a great deal of money.

Which phone companies offer the 3G + 4G network?

Any price plan that you see in the table at the top of this page will give you a SIM with a phone plan which will work in a 3G or a 4G phone. Most of the companies listed here have very easy online stores to navigate and can get you a SIM next business day.


Best SIM Only Plans March 2018

Boost Mobile | Best Prepaid Data Rates On The Full Telstra Network

boost mobile logo

Prepaid | 28 day expiry | On The Telstra Mobile Network 3G+4G

Boost Mobile are a reliable brand. They are the only phone company other than Telstra to resell the full Telstra ‘Retail’ Network. With Boost you’ll get:

  • The full Telstra Mobile Network
    Other phone companies resell part of the Telstra Mobile Network. Only Boost and Telstra plans allow you access the whole thing.
  • Free streamed audio:
    Data free streaming of Apple Music (requires subscription) on top of the data included in your plan.
  • A range that includes 7 day and 28 day plans:
    Boost offer a selection of plans including 7 and 28 day variants.
  • Recharge options from $10 to $50:
    Boost have a total of 5 recharge options for their prepaid plans, ranging between $10 and $50.

Boost Mobile Plans For Your Mobile

All talk time and SMS for use in Australia to Australian numbers. All data is for use in Australia. You can learn more about this company in our Boost Mobile review.



Belong Mobile | Fairest For Data

Best Data Plans 2018





Postpaid | Month to Month agreement | On The Telstra Mobile Network 3G+4G

Belong sell access to the Telstra Mobile Network. They have a simple to understand plan structure with options on data, national ($5 extra) and international calls ($5 extra.) Belong also offer the fairest treatment of data that any phone company in Australia have. a ‘data vault’ feature. Whatever data you buy, is yours, forever. It just keeps rolling over until you use it or leave them.

With Belong, you’ll get:

  • Data Vault:
    All Belong’s Mobile plans come with ‘data vault’. When you buy your data, it just keeps rolling over until you decide to use it or leave them!
  • $5 National Calls:
    Belong’s price plans are data first. If you want to add Unlimited Australian National calls, it’ll cost you $5 a month, on top of the price of your data.
  • $10 International Calls:
    And if you want to make Unlimited International Calls (to 10 selected destinations – or to 23 selected countries’ landlines) just add $10.

Belong Plans For Your Mobile

  • Belong Mobile $25 = 15GB of 4G data (5GB plus 10GB welcome gift).
  • Belong Mobile $40 =45GB of 4G data (15GB plus 30GB welcome gift).
  • Belong Mobile $30 = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 15GB of 4G data (5GB plus 10GB welcome gift).
  • Belong Mobile $35 = Unlimited national calls & SMS + 15GB of 4G data (5GB plus 10GB welcome gift) with international calls & SMS to selected countries.
  • Belong Mobile $45 = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 40GB of 4G data (15GB plus 30GB welcome gift).
  • Belong Mobile $50 = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 45GB of 4G data (15GB plus 30GB welcome gift) with international calls & SMS to selected countries.

All talk time and SMS for use in Australia to Australian numbers. All data is for use in Australia. You can learn more about this company in our Belong Mobile review.


    Strong, Simple Plans & A Well Known Brand

    Amaysim plansBest for big mobile broadband bundles




    Amaysim plans can be bought either Prepaid or Postpaid On The Optus Mobile Network 3G+4G

    Amaysim are the 4th biggest phone company in Australia with over 1m customers. They consistently have one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the industry and have a plan range which you can buy as either prepaid (28 day expiry) or postpaid – just select the option you want in their checkout. With Amaysim, you’ll get:

    • Strong plan range:
      Amaysim have a range starting at $10 per month and rising to $50 per month. Data inclusions are up there with the best available and, with Amaysim, things are nice and simple. You’re just buying voice calls, SMS and data. There are no optional extras.
    • New International Inclusions:
      Any plan you buy, starting at $30 per month will now include free International Calls to 12 destinations.
    • Great Customer Experience:
      Amaysim are consistently one of the best performing phone companies when it comes to customer satisfaction.

    Amaysim’s plan range:

    You can find out more about this company in our Amaysim review.



    OVO Mobile – Free Video & Radio Content

    Best Entertainment plans - 2018




    Prepaid | 30 day expiry | On the Full Optus 3G and 4G Network 

    OVO’s offer a totally new way of looking at a phone company – they’re one of our best selling partners. Their plans are, pretty much on a par for data inclusions with the best in the industry. In addition to talk time, SMS and data, OVO’s plans include exclusive access to exclusive video content. All of OVO’s plans come with ‘OVO Play’ an app which lets you watch their free content on your plan. With OVO, you’ll get:

    • Free Video Content – Motorsport, Sailing, Gymnastics & Water Polo :
      OVO offer a growing list of free video and audio content. Motorsport fans might like the 400 Thunder Professional Drag Racing Series, Australian GT, Formula Drift and other petrol head live streaming. OVO Play also includes other sports like sailing and gymnastics. The price of the content is included in the monthly line rental charge you pay OVO for your prepaid plan. So, importantly: You won’t see your data balance decline while you’re watching them, the streamed content is free.
    • Free Streamed Audio:
      OVO’s plans also offer FREE radio streaming, also included in your plan offers access to the Tripple M network and other selected stations.
    • OVO for Kids:
      OVO’s plans come with the offer of free access to Parental Lock software. Buy your child the $9.95 plan from OVO and you’ll be able to monitor what they access on their phone and set times for it to turn off and turn on it’s own connection to the internet.

    OVO Plans for your mobile

    Picking an OVO plan is simple. All of OVO’s plans include Unlimited talk and SMS in Australia to Australian numbers plus superfast 4G data.

    You can learn more about them and their unique content in our OVO review.


      Kogan Mobile – Best Value on the Vodafone Network


      Prepaid | 30 day expiry | On the Full Vodafone 3G and 4G Network 

      Kogan Mobile keep it simple. They have some of the most competitive SIM Only / Prepaid plans in Australia, on the much improved Vodafone network. With their multi month recharge options, Kogan add some genuine value and choice to the market.

      With Kogan, you’ll get

      • Monthly, quarterly or annual options : Do you want a single recharge payment with a 1, 3 or 12 month validity ? With Kogan, you’ll get discounts for multi-month purchases you were going to make anyway. They add the convenience of less frequent running out / topping up. And they keep the total predictability and flexibility of prepaid.

      Kogan’s 30 day plan range :

      Kogan’s 30 day plans all have Unlimited talk and SMS in Australia to Australian numbers. The difference is the amount of data which is included.

      All talk time and SMS for use in Australia to Australian numbers. All data is for use in Australia. See all Kogan Plans including 90 day and 365 day plans. You can find out more about this company in our Kogan Mobile review.



      Great Value Data & Best For International Calls

      International Calls 2018




      Prepaid | 30 day expiry | On the Full Vodafone 3G and 4G Network 

      If you’re after an unlimited plan with incredible data inclusions, or you make calls overseas, in our view, you need look no further than Lebara. Lebara use the much improved Vodafone 3G + 4G network which covers more than 96% of Australians. With Lebara, you’ll get :

      • Big Data on the Vodafone 3G + 4G network:
        Lebara’s plans include enough data for even the most ravenous data eaters.
      • Broad Range Including Plans With International Calls:
        Lebara have Unlimited International Call plans at $29.90 and $49.90 price points. Lebara’s cheaper international call rates cover all the major destinations including : UK, USA, Greece, China, Canada, Germany, Denmark, France, South Korea and Switzerland. (Inclusions vary, see our review.)
      • Multi-Month-Options:
        Lebara have 30 day plans, 180 day plans and 360 day plans. Buy up-front and save.

      Lebara’s prepaid plan range:

      You can find out more about this company in our full Lebara Review.



        What is happening to our 2G networks ?

        The 2G mobile shutdown is finally upon us. The thousands of old school Nokia (and other) 2G mobile phones that have kept low expectation users happy for decades require an upgrade. These basic phones that we have all, at one time, loved, are reaching the end of their useful life.

        Dealing with 2G phones

        2G phones were simpler than what we’re used to now but that’s not to say they didn’t have value. 2G phones were popular with the older generation who only use their mobile phones for occasional calls and emergencies. Many people have had these ‘nana’ phones (also known as ‘dumb’ phones because they’re not ‘smart’ or ‘candybar’ phones because they’re long and thin like the American chocolate) for a long time. The 2G networks have been with us for 20 years now and so have many of those units.

        Simple mobile phones, like the Nokia 3200 and 3210, are still in operation (in surprisingly large numbers) and, to this day, rely on the much older 2G mobile network for their connection.

        The 2G networks are being shut down. The Nokia 3210 is one of the devices which may well be affected.

        Closing down the 2G networks will affect older devices – like this one.

        When the 2G networks close, your best bet may be to upgrade to a cheap 3G equivalent like the Telstra Cruise.

        Consider the Telstra Cruise or a similar device as a replacement for your outdated 2G device.

        Why they are closing the 2G networks down

        These 2G facilities are much older and less used networks. That they are maintained in parallel to more modern networks makes them expensive to maintain for the phone companies. 2G phones make up less than 2% of all the calls and SMSs to be sent over the Telstra network. That means the 2G network has to be kept running alongside the more recent 3G and 4G networks. And remember, 5G is almost upon us. And that will require a whole new network again! The phone companies have rationally considered the circumstance and concluded the only way they could. As a result, the 2G networks are set to be decommissioned, starting later this year.

        When will the Australian 2G networks close down ?

        • Telstra has announced that in December 16 they will begin switching off the 2G network.
        • Vodafone will close theirs on 30th September 2017.

        What can Australian 2G network users do ?

        For many, with the 2G networks not long for this world, it’s time to begin thinking of a replacement. Here’s how it might affect you:

        • You may have to change (or upgrade) your phone: 
          Some will have to upgrade their old phone. Don’t worry ! You can get a simple to use phone which still has a great battery life for around $30.
        • You may have to get a new SIM:
          A SIM is a subscriber Identification Module. It’s the small, interchangeable computer chip you have in your phone. Some people will just have to swap their SIM out. We explain below how you can go about this with minimum fuss and how you can move to some of the best (cheapest) deals in market.
        • Some will have to do both:
          An unfortunate few will have to change both their SIM and their phone. Here’s how you can work through the process with a minimum of cost and hassle.

         How do I know if I have a 2G phone ?

        • Google your phone’s model number:
          You will find your phone’s model number on the back of your phone. If you really struggle to find it, ask a helpful family member to assist you in locating it.
        • Any number of sites will tell you whether the phone you have is a 2G phone:
          We use GSM arena to tell us the specifications of phones we work with on this website. There are dozens of smaller sites with the same information.
        • If you have a 3G or a 4G phone, that’s no problem:
          More modern phones will be described as either 3G or 4G. If you have one of these devices (phones) then you have nothing to worry about. Read the section below on getting a new SIM – but don’t worry about upgrading your phone.
        • If your phone isn’t a 3G or a 4G phone, it’s likely that it’s a 2G device:
          In the example below (please see screenshot), the phone shown works on GSM – another name for 2G. If, on the website you’re studying, you see Edge, GSM, GPRS or 2G  the network technology used by your phone when you Google it, you have a 2G phone. Again, a family member can help you with this if it all feels overwhelming!

        When the 2G networks close, any 3G phone, including this one will work just fine.

        Upgrading to a 3G device with lots of new features is cheap and easy.

        Alternatively, wait until the network is switched off – it’ll stop working. If it stops working, then you know you need to upgrade.

        Any post office will have a range of phones which you can use to replace your current handset. They're affordable and easy to find.

        Any post office will have a replacement for your defunct 2G handset.

        What to do if you need a new phone to replace your 2G phone

        There are plenty of resources at your fingertips to replace an older 2G phone with something more up to date. they key facility you are looking for in a new phone is that it will connect to either the 3G or 4G networks. If that sounds daunting, it’s not. This is something you cannot get wrong.

        • You might need to buy a new phone:
          You may need to pick up a new phone, too, one which is at least 3G capable.
        • You cannot get this wrong!:
          Any phone you buy NEW from the shops, online or high street will be 3G or 4G capable.
        • You can get them online or at the post office:
          These days thanks to online stores such as Kogan, you can grab a 3G enabled phone or smartphone for a bargain price. With your new 3G enabled smartphone you can now take advantage of some great valued prepaid SIM only plans currently on the market.
        • New phones are better because:
          4G phones offer a faster data connection than 3G phones. You can get one of those from the Post Office or places on the internet like Allphones, too. Many people find that if they buy their own phone and add a SIM later, they end up saving a great deal of money. And, of course, the main reason they are better for you in the current circumstance is that they will continue to work when the 2G network is closed down.

        Don’t worry. While you have to upgrade your phone ( if it is 2G only ), there are plenty of options out there for you.

        • It needn’t be a smartphone:
          If a smart mobile phone ( a computer phone with a big screen ) is too much of a step for you, then a feature phone is what you need.  Feature phones are very similar to what you’re used to with your older 2G phone. They don’t have huge screens which burn the battery life to less than a day. They won’t use a heap of data. And best of all, they are extremely affordable.
        • 3G phones offer features you might like:
          3G enabled smartphones also provide functionality that you might not be used to. This can include apps and content on demand choices. For users coming from the 2G network, to a 3G one and using a modern smartphone, your data usage might increase. Due to more streaming content options and applications, which can chew up large amounts of mobile data. It’s a good idea to keep this in mind when shopping around for your next prepaid plan.
        • 4G Phones are the state of the art:
          4G phones offer super fast data speeds. They have all the apps and features of 3G phones AND your data access will be quicker. You Tube clips will load faster and play with less buffering. Maps will adjust to your location more quickly. At least consider a 4G phone if you’re upgrading anyway.

        Comparison sites such as right here at Whatphone make it easier for you to do your plan research.

        Now it’s time to find a SIM to suit your needs

        So, now you have worked through whether your current phone is a 2G phone or something newer. Whether or not the hardware (phone) needs to be fixed, you will almost certainly need a new SIM.

        You can keep you old (2G) phone number, that’s not a problem.

        • You can keep your existing phone number :
          If you want to keep your phone number, you can. Simply sign up to any new phone company, large (like Vodafone or Telstra) or small such as LebaraYomojoBoost Mobile or OVO Mobile.
        • Just tell them when you’re buying online that you want to keep the number :
          You’ll be asked, during the sign up process, whether you want to keep your existing phone number of take a new one.
        • Note:
          SIMs are free if you order them online. Get them from the online store of the phone company you favour and you’re likely to get a better deal than if you went in to store. SIM delivery is next business day from all of the providers we recommend on this page.

        In Conclusion – there’s nothing to worry about moving to 3G

        The switching off of the 2G network is going to affect a lot of users. It’s going to require people who have a 2G phone, to upgrade their hardware and almost certainly change your SIM. Communications from Telstra have already started going out to their 2G customers. It can be scary to receive a letter or a text telling you that your service is going to stop. Many people have been happily using their 2G phones for the better part of 2 decades without any problems. Luckily, there is absolutely nothing to worry about.

        If you follow our advice, above, you’ll be able to get a plan that makes sense both for you and the new phone you choose. As a rule of thumb, it always works out much cheaper in the long run to buy a mobile phone outright, and grab a SIM only plan. Consider our PAYG Plans (they don’t have any data in them) page or our Cheap SIM plans page.

        When it comes to SIM only prepaid plans, everyone has different needs. It can be difficult to find a one-size-fits-all solution. But thanks to MVNOs such as Yomojo and Amaysim, you can use their customisable tools to create the perfect plan for your needs. It might make sense to grab a cheap prepaid plan. If you don’t make a lot of calls. Just the same as a reduced rate plan that comes with no mobile data, might be the perfect choice, if you don’t need or care about data.


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        Neil Aitken

        Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.

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