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Impact of Australian 3G Coverage Shutdown on Elevator Emergency Phones

Impact of Australian 3G Coverage Shutdown on Elevator Emergency Phones

As Australia advances its telecommunications infrastructure, the scheduled shutdown of 3G networks poses significant implications for various sectors. One critical area of concern is the reliability of elevator emergency phones, which often operate on 3G networks. Without timely upgrades, these essential safety devices may become inoperative, leading to severe safety risks. Since 2019, strata managers have been working closely with bodies corporate and owners corporations to ensure the implementation and upgrade of this essential safety equipment, providing their legal obligation to their communities.  

The Necessity of Elevator Emergency Phones 

Elevator emergency phones are crucial for ensuring the safety and security of passengers. They provide a vital communication link to emergency services in case of mechanical failures, power outages, or medical emergencies. Typically, these phones are connected via cellular networks, and many have relied on 3G technology due to its extensive coverage and reliability. 

Implications of 3G Network Shutdown 

The impending decommissioning of 3G networks in Australia has already begun and threatens to disrupt the functionality of elevator emergency phones that have not been upgraded. Here are the primary concerns: 

  1. Loss of Communication: Without a functioning 3G network, any emergency phone still relying on this technology will be unable to connect to emergency services. This loss of communication can leave passengers stranded and without assistance during critical situations. 
  2. Compliance and Safety Standards: Elevator operators are bound by stringent safety and compliance regulations. Non-functional emergency phones can lead to non-compliance with these regulations. 
  3. Increased Downtime and Maintenance Costs: Emergency phones that are not upgraded will require urgent replacements or temporary solutions, potentially causing elevator downtime and incurring additional maintenance costs. This can disrupt building operations and inconvenience residents. 


The Path Forward: Upgrading to 4G and Beyond 

To mitigate these risks, it is imperative for building managers and elevator maintenance companies to proactively upgrade their emergency phone systems. Transitioning to 4G or even 5G networks will ensure continued reliability and access to the latest technological advancements. Here are some steps to facilitate this transition: 

  1. Assessment and Planning: Conduct a thorough audit of all elevator emergency phones to determine which units are reliant on 3G technology. Develop a comprehensive upgrade plan, including timelines and budget considerations. 
  2. Coordination with Telecom Providers: Engage with telecom service providers to understand the timelines for 3G shutdowns in specific areas and to arrange for the installation of 4G or 5G compatible devices. 
  3. Implementation and Testing: Install the upgraded emergency phone systems and conduct rigorous testing to ensure seamless connectivity and functionality. Regular maintenance checks should be scheduled to ensure long-term reliability. 


The shutdown of 3G networks in Australia underscores the necessity for proactive upgrades to elevator emergency phones. By transitioning to more advanced network technologies, building operators can ensure the continued safety and compliance of their elevators, safeguarding passengers and avoiding potential disruptions. Prompt action is not only a regulatory requirement but a fundamental aspect of maintaining public safety in an evolving technological landscape. 

SSKB Community Managers can investigate the impact the shutdown will have on your building and find out if the appropriate steps have been taken to ensure your building and community are ready for the change. If you have concerns about the 3G network shutdowns impact on your building, SSKB encourages you to contact your Community Manager for advice and assistance.  

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