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Telematics, 3G Network Shutdown, and the Future of Fleet Management for Local Governments


The impending shutdown of Telstra’s 3G network on 31 August 2024 highlights fleet managers’ need to upgrade their telematics systems. As detailed on Telstra’s website, the closure will impact devices that rely on 3G for data transmission. This situation presents an opportunity for local governments to upgrade to advanced telematics solutions, such as Geotab and Formbird FLEET, ensuring continued connectivity and unlocking new capabilities in fleet management.

For more details, visit Telstra’s 3G Closure Information.

Integrating telematics as part of fleet management has transformed how local governments operate their fleets. Telematics systems, which combine GPS technology, onboard diagnostics, and telecommunication, enable fleet managers to monitor various data points, such as vehicle location, speed, fuel consumption, and driver behaviour, in real-time. This data provides valuable insights that enhance operational efficiency, safety, and cost-effectiveness​.

Benefits of Telematics for Local Government Fleets

  • Improved Efficiency and Cost Savings:
    • Fuel Management: Tracks fuel consumption patterns, unnecessary idling, identifying areas for improvement and cost savings, and even potential theft.
    • Enhanced Safety: Monitors driver behaviour to identify risky practices, enabling targeted training to reduce accident rates.
    • Maintenance Alerts: Provides maintenance alerts, keeping vehicles in optimal condition and extending lifespan.
  • Regulatory Compliance:
    • Maintaining detailed records of vehicle usage, maintenance, and driver logs is essential for audits and compliance with local and national regulations.
    •  FBT logbook tools for Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) and the accurate data collection (duration & location) for Fuel Tax Credit (FTC) claims, including plant take-off (PTO) usage.
  • Chain of Responsibility (COR) Compliance:
    • Monitors driver behaviour, vehicle maintenance, and real-time data to ensure adherence to NHVR safety regulations and standards.

Challenges and Solutions: The 3G Network Shutdown

The impending 3G network shutdown, with Telstra extending the deadline by two months to 31 August 2024, presents an opportunity for fleet managers to make the switch still. The shutdown necessitates an upgrade to 4G or 5G-compatible devices to ensure continued connectivity and functionality​.

Steps to Mitigate the Impact:

  1. Assess Current Systems: Conduct a thorough assessment of the existing telematics systems to determine which devices and services rely on 3G.
  2. Upgrade Planning: Use this opportunity to review the latest developments and functionality available in today’s market before diving into another 3-5-year contract. 
  3. Develop a comprehensive upgrade plan to 4G or 5G-compatible telematics systems. This may include budgeting for new hardware, software, and potential installation costs.
  4. Vendor Coordination: Work closely with telematics service providers to facilitate a smooth transition and ensure the new systems are fully integrated and operational before the 3G shutdown​.

Future Opportunities with Advanced Telematics

Upgrading to more advanced telematics systems opens up new opportunities for local government fleets:

  • Additional functionality: Review whether the GPS unit can be used as a data hub. The unit can interrogate the vehicle’s CAN bus via the OBDII port to gather and deliver vehicle information to the depot. The data captured can be re-interrogated for reporting that is not anticipated.
  • Advanced Data Analytics: Enhanced data collection capabilities enable sophisticated analytics to predict maintenance needs, optimise routes, and improve fleet management.
  • Environmental Benefits: Advanced telematics can help reduce fleets’ environmental impact by optimising fuel usage and supporting the transition to electric vehicles by identifying equivalent hybrid / EV alternatives, better monitoring and managing battery performance, and identifying charging needs​. 

While the 3G network shutdown poses a significant challenge, it also urges Local Governments to upgrade their telematics systems. By embracing these advancements, Local Governments can ensure their fleets are more efficient, safer, and better integrated into the future of urban management.If you want to learn more about Formbird FLEET and Geosecure telematics, contact us now for a demonstration.