As part of its ongoing efforts to build out its 4G and 5G coverage, T-Mobile has announced that it will be shutting down Sprint’s old LTE network next year in June.
After taking control of Sprint’s cell networks following T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint last year, like a number of other carriers, T-Mobile initiated plans to begin dismantling parts of its legacy cell networks in order to prioritize the expansion of its 4G and 5G service. But now, in a new update first spotted by Light Reading, T-Mobile has issued a new update stating that it will also retire Sprint’s LTE coverage on June 30, 2022.
In its press release, T-Mobile says “To ensure all customers can enjoy a more advanced 4G and 5G network, we will be retiring older network technologies to free up resources and spectrum that will help us strengthen our entire network, move all customers to more advanced technologies and bridge the Digital Divide. An additional part of this effort involves moving Sprint’s LTE spectrum to the T-Mobile network.”
This means that anyone who relies on Sprint’s LTE network or its 3G CDMA service (which is scheduled to be shut down on Jan. 1, 2022) will need to buy a new phone that supports 4G or 5G connectivity if they want to continue having access to T-Mobile’s cellular service.
For those wondering if they might be affected, T-Mobile says that it began sending out notifications to those customers starting late last year in order to give people ample time to prepare ahead of the upcoming shutdowns. In an FAQ on the matter T-Mobile even says “Rest assured that if you’re affected, T-Mobile will contact you.”
When looking ahead, T-Mobile’s also planning to shut down its legacy GSM 2G and UMTS 3G networks sometime in the future as well but it hasn’t set a specific date just yet. So far, T-Mobile says it has already switched 33% of former Sprint customers over to the T-Mobile network.
Sadly, the biggest issue with the shutdown of older networks is that it may leave some customers behind, most notably some Boost (which is now owned by Dish) customers may still rely on Sprint’s 3G CMDA network for connectivity.
In the ongoing quest for wider coverage and faster mobile data speeds, it seems many of these older cell networks have become dead weight, especially for cell towers that might be better utilized to support more modern standards.
Aside from T-Mobile’s shutdowns, AT&T is expected to take its 3G network offline beginning sometime in “early” 2022, with Verizon following suit on Jan. 1, 2023.