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2TM Regional News

3G shutdown will leave millions without service

With the continuing planned shutdown of the 3G network, NSW farmers are calling for the federal government to take urgent action to ensure phone companies don’t leave thousands of farmers without mobile coverage.

Large parts of NSW have limited or no mobile phone reception, and in some areas the poorer quality, but further reaching, 3G may be the only reception people can get.

NSW Farmers Rural Affairs committee chair Deb Charlton said the shutdown would “spell disaster for many farmers who often work alone and a long way from help and if they run into trouble or have an accident, they will be unable to call for help.”

An estimate earlier this year put the number of 3G-reliant devices in Australia at about 3 million – most of which are older ones that have been around for at least five or six years.

It’s also estimated that 200,000 of the devices are medical alarms and David Waldie from medical alarm company Eevi said “An elderly person or someone else with a vulnerability who is relying on that alarm for an emergency response simply won't get one.”

And it’s not just mobile phones that will be affected - EFTPOS machines, cars, tablets and security cameras will also lose service.

Vodaphone has already switched off its 3G services, Telstra is currently in the process of turning 3G off and Optus will begin its shutdown in September.


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