Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Aussie Aspera offers a budget phone fix for 3G shutdown drama

If you’re using an old button-based phone that won’t be compatible with a 4G network, you need to upgrade immediately. But if you still want a button-based phone and don’t want to spend much, Aspera might have you sorted.

It’s already May, and the upcoming 3G shutdown isn’t far away at all for Telstra customers. Vodafone pulled the plug back in December last year, and Optus will do it in September, but Telstra is next in June, and that’s bad news for folks with an old phone.

“Old” typically means anything older than five years, but for some people, old can be quite old. If all you need a phone for is to make calls, that might include phones with buttons and a smaller screen… remember those?

Often called “dumb phones” or “feature phones”, they’re a type of phone that doesn’t get as much attention these days, largely because the world has moved on to full-featured touchscreen phones with big screens, great cameras, support for the a full browsing experiences, apps, games, and more. Outside of a few exceptions, these devices tend to support the latest mobile communication standards, too, making them ready for the impending shutdown of 3G networks.

But not everyone wants or needs that, and if an old phone has been used for so long that you can’t remember when you bought the thing, it might be time for an upgrade to something else. In fact, if you don’t mind using an old phone and aren’t keen for a smartphone, a new take on the old school phone might be what you want.

With that in mind, Australia’s Aspera has recently updated two phoned made to handle the 4G network whilst retaining the button phone design.

Built to be functional but still inexpensive, both models come with a 2.4 inch screen, a 1000mAh battery, FM radio, microSD support, Bluetooth, and a small camera on the back.

The F48 offers a candy bar phone with buttons and a 0.3 megapixel camera for $69, while the F50 is a flip phone with a 2 megapixel camera and a cradle for $99.

Aspera F48 (left) next to the F50 (right).

“Let’s be clear, these phones have simple, basic but essential features,” said Allan Robertson, Managing Director of Aspera.

“More often than not they are used by the young or elderly who simply want to make and receive calls and send and receive texts,” he said. “That said, they play a very important role in the broader mobile phone ecosystem. We also usually associate 4G networks with smartphones and fast data speeds, but not everyone is looking for these things.”

With the shut down of the 3G network on the way for much of Australia in June, a shift to a new phone will likely be on the cards for many Australians. A modern touchscreen phone with more capabilities could be a good bet for many. However, if buttons is all you or someone you’re buying for is used to, Aspera’s options could be an easy transition.

Both the Aspera F48 and F50 are available now, priced at $69 and $99 respectively.

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