A senior Telstra executive has vowed no rural customers will be left without a phone service as the 3G mobile network is phased out for 4G over the next two years.
The 3G system will be slowly shut down and replaced by 4G by the middle of 2024.
Amanda Hutton, Telstra's group owner of Consumer and Digitisation, said she understood concerns in regional Australia that people would lose phone coverage as the system was upgraded.
Telstra would work closely with each customer to make sure SIM cards were updated and no phones would drop out as it came close to the switch off time for 3G.
"We are giving customers a lot of lead up time to manage the migration," she said. Many SIM cards would need to be updated. There would be individual contact wth customers as the upgrade date moved closer.
"It won't come as a surprise to anyone. We are sure none of our customers who are still on the network are not surprised.
She said the new 4G plans would be inexpensive. "It will be like for like," she said. She told the CWA annual conference in Sydney an announcement was imminent on extra mobile coverage in regional Australia.
She said Telstra was working at a local level to make sure mobile networks met local needs and adapted to local conditions, with one such pilot at Bilpin.
The North Coast floods had cut many phone services including 290 mobile towers, affecting 18,000 customers and 60,000 businesses using NBN. Telstra was able to get most mobile services up and running again within seven days. Telstra was returning all voice customer service operations to Australia and returning outsourced Telstra shops "inhouse".
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