3G shutdown threatens business operations

Wednesday, 13 September, 2023

3G shutdown threatens business operations

The impending shutdown of Australia’s 3G network poses risk to business operations, according to ICT provider Fujitsu. The organisation is urging businesses to conduct a thorough review of devices and technology systems to avoid being caught out.

Australian telecommunications providers will decommission the 3G networks as early as December 2023, with Vodafone set to switch off the 3G network entirely on 15 December this year, Telstra in June 2024 and Optus in September 2024.

According to Gartner’s Internet of Things, Endpoints and Communications 2020–2030 Update, the installed base of IoT endpoints in Australia on 3G is around 9.2 million. Of these 9.2 million devices, the critical services that are at risk of disruption include point-of-sale systems, EFTPOS machines, remote monitoring and tracking devices in vehicle fleets.

“Whether you’re a large retailer in groceries, convenience or fuel with thousands of devices, a local pharmacist, an owner of a vet clinic or a small chain of convenience stores, it is likely that the closure of 3G networks will affect how you conduct business and interact with customers,” said Fujitsu Head of Industry – Retail Clare Burden.

“Due to the significant impact this might have on businesses, we really want to make sure it is on everyone’s agenda.

“While the move to 4G or 5G is not particularly challenging, business owners need to understand that it is more than just unplugging a device and connecting a new one. Depending on the size of your business and the number of 3G-connected devices, the upgrade could likely take months. We urge Aussie businesses to plan ahead and make this a priority to avoid potential disruptions.”

The company recommends Australian businesses, especially those in retail, follow a three-step approach to updating their devices and technology to ensure a smooth migration.

  1. Step One: Decommission existing 3G devices. This can be a costly process, if not done correctly. However, this is dependent on the device and whether the technology is connected to the cloud.
  2. Step Two: Deploying the new device. Retailers need to consider aspects such as the device’s bandwidth and power, and whether the deployment is standard for all locations.
  3. Step Three: Compatibility. Retailers need to ensure the compatibility of new devices with existing payment systems.

Retailers who can seize new opportunities to migrate to 4G or 5G networks can expect to see faster and more reliable connectivity to adapt and thrive in the ever-evolving retail landscape.

Image credit: iStock.com/prott

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