Vodafone Australia has revealed plans to switch off its 2G network in just under a year to free up spectrum for 4G.
The operator will decommission its legacy 2G GSM network on September 30 2017, following a 12-month campaign to move its remaining 2G users off the network.
Announcing the decision, Vodafone said its 2G network currently carries less than 1% of the operator's data traffic and around 2% of its voice traffic. By contrast, Vodadone's 4G network carries nearly 80% of the company's total data traffic.
Vodafone first launched 2G services in Australia in 1993. More than 600,000 customers have been migrated from 2G since January 2013, but the company did not state how many remain.
“There has been a natural drop-off of 2G traffic as 4G smartphones have become more affordable. This has led to many customers upgrading their phones of their own accord,” Vodafone CTO Kevin Millroy said.
“We are continuing to enhance our network with features including Voice over 4G which provides clearer voice calls, shorter call connection times and the ability to use 4G data while making or receiving a call. With the IoT on our doorstep, it is paramount we manage spectrum efficiently and reallocate capacity to our more advanced networks to help more of our customers have a better experience.”
Vodafone will be the last Australian operator to shutter its 2G network - Telstra plans to switch off its own 2G network in December, and Optus plans to follow suit in April 2017.