What does the 3G sunset mean for Australian fleets?

Published on November 5, 2020 in Fleet Management by Michael Cruces


Learn about the 3G sunset and how to prepare your fleet.

Cellular technologies, like many others, go through cycles of deployment and obsolescence. The current 3G network has been active since 2006. With the advance of new technologies, space on the cellular frequency bands needs to be cleared, and devices migrated from 3G to LTE.


The three mobile network providers, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, operate independently, purchasing frequency bandwidth from regulators. 3G sunset plans have already begun in Australia.


Telstra’s announcement states 3G devices will no longer operate from June 2024. As Telstra is further along deployment than either Optus or Vodafone, they have been the first to announce closure of older technologies, with the others to follow when they are confident they can provide enough newer coverage to consumers.

What does the 3G sunset in Australia mean for fleet tracking?

This, of course, depends on your service. Geotab customers on the ProPlus plan are entitled to a free upgrade to a newer device, such as the Geotab GO9, subject to some terms and conditions. To learn more, contact your Authorized Geotab Reseller for advice.


If your fleet is on the Base, Pro or another software plan, you will need to update the device. Your Reseller will work with you to help transition your fleet to the latest tech. The transition might be as simple as changing devices when you turn your fleet over.


As mentioned above, there is plenty of time until the shutdown. However it’s a great time to start learning about your options.

What other benefits are there to upgrading?

As with any upgrade, moving from an older GO tracking device to the latest technology gives you access to a variety of new benefits. This includes more processing power, on-device storage, and other improvements we’ve made with this new generation of fleet trackers.


Other than the benefits associated with the device update, the cellular network coverage may have changed. This could be a good opportunity to assess how much time your devices spend inside and outside network connectivity. You might need to add, or be able to remove satellite modems and subscriptions, if vehicles have changed environments.


Read more about the benefits of the GO9.

How can I plan ahead for upgrades?

To help guide you through the process, we have mapped out some steps for preparing your fleet for the 3G sunset.


1. Take a full inventory of what devices you have deployed.

Map out exactly which vehicle has which device type. If you aren’t sure, your Reseller will be able to help you identify which devices are at risk of having no network after the shutdown.


2. Plan tracking device inventory along with other fleet assets.

Cross-referencing the tracking device list with asset disposal will help you identify the best time to update technology. This should give you a built-in deadline, based on your ordinary operations.


3. Identify any assets that will not be moved on before 3G sunset.

Some businesses don’t dispose of their fleet vehicles every few years. Some asset classes, like heavy trucks or heavy machinery have a much longer useful life. It’s important you know which of these won’t have that built-in deadline. Identifying these will help you target a replacement time aligned with a scheduled service, for example.


4. Work with your resellers to develop an action plan over the next four years to update the fleet.

Geotab’s network of Authorised Resellers already help you manage your fleet. Lean on them to schedule orders of new devices, activate them at install, and deactivate removed units. Let them work with you to ensure you never miss out on the benefits of comprehensive fleet management.


5. Learn about the opportunities offered by a new device.

This generational change is a great time to brush up on what’s new and get additional value from your telematics system. Learn a new report, integrate new sensors, or identify a new way to leverage your fleet management software to drive performance in your organisation. 


Preparing ahead now can save time and avoid headaches later. To learn more, please ask your Authorized Geotab Reseller about the 3G sunset.


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Disclaimer

Geotab's blog posts are intended to provide information and encourage discussion on topics of interest to the telematics community at large. Geotab is not providing technical, professional or legal advice through these blog posts. While every effort has been made to ensure the information in this blog post is timely and accurate, errors and omissions may occur, and the information presented here may become out-of-date with the passage of time.