Telstra to provide phones to disadvantaged, elderly or remote customers affected by 3G shutdown

Telstra is offering complimentary handsets to customers still using 3G phones. Photo: Contributed

TELSTRA has announced it will be providing around 12,000 of its most disadvantaged, elderly or remote customers across the country with a new handset, to ensure they’re able to stay connected after the 3G closure.

The initiative has been rolled out ahead of the 3G network closure on August 31, 2024 and is aimed to support those who need it most.

Many of these customers are over 80-years-old and in difficult situations such as dealing with financial hardship or recovering from a natural disaster. Some of these customers also depend on a working phone because they are living with a life-threatening medical condition (Telstra’s ‘Priority Assistance’ customers).

Major Brendan Nottle from The Salvation Army welcomed the news.

“This initiative will benefit the most vulnerable members of our community,” he said.

“Connection is one of the most important things to maintain in our society, whether it is with friends and family or with housing and support services.

“Ensuring that every Australian, from any background or level of income, can take part in our modern digital society is crucial.

“A phone can be a gateway to social inclusion, community connection and support, and with the upcoming closure of 3G networks in Australia it is important for us to reach out and ensure that this can continue for everyone.”

Back in April, Telstra launched an SMS tool to check if your phone needs an upgrade ahead of the switch – SMS ‘3’ to 3498 to check if your phone needs an upgrade ahead of the 3G shutdown.

Optus will be shutting down its 3G network on September 1, and Vodafone has already turned off their 3G coverage.