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T-Mobile Delays Shutdown of Sprint’s 3G Network and Throws Shade at Partners

Although it didn't specify which partners hadn't "followed through on their responsibilities," it's highly likely T-Mobile was referring to Dish Network.

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Image for article titled T-Mobile Delays Shutdown of Sprint’s 3G Network and Throws Shade at Partners
Photo: John MacDougall / AFP (Getty Images)

T-Mobile is delaying its planned January shutdown of Sprint’s legacy 3G network, or CDMA network, because it claims some of its partners “haven’t followed through on their responsibility” to transition their customers to new networks.

In a recent passive aggressive news release, spotted by the Verge, T-Mobile said it was “stepping up” on behalf of partners who hadn’t migrated former Sprint CDMA customers over to new networks yet and giving them three extra months to do so, pushing back the shutdown of the 3G network from Jan. 1 to March 31, 2022. T-Mobile merged with Sprint last year and had to sell off some of Sprint’s pre-paid wireless businesses as part of the deal.


Shutting down Sprint’s legacy 3G network, as well as its LTE network next June, is part of T-Mobile’s effort to prioritize the expansion of its 4G and 5G service.

“There should be no more room for excuses,” T-Mobile said in its update on Friday. “We have provided even more time and those partners can follow suit with the effort that is needed to ensure no one is left on the wrong side of the digital divide.”


Although it doesn’t specify any partners, it’s highly likely that T-Mobile is throwing shade at Dish Network, which has referred to T-Mobile as “the Grinch.” T-Mobile sold Boost Mobile— Sprint’s pre-paid MVNO that serves 9 million customers—to Dish Network to get its merger approved.

Both companies have been fighting loudly and in public over the migration deadline over the past few months. On one side, you have T-Mobile, which told Dish in 2020 that it would be dismantling the 3G network in 2022. The move came as a surprise to Dish, as the company understood that shutdown was several years away. T-Mobile maintains that the company has had plenty of time to migrate.

On the other side, you have Dish, which sees T-Mobile’s actions as anti-competitive. It also points out that it’s a particularly hard time to try to get new phones for Boost Mobile customers in light of the global chip shortage, the Verge reported.

“A forced migration of this scale under this accelerated time frame is simply not possible and will leave potentially millions of Boost subscribers disenfranchised and without cell service come January 1, 2022,” Dish said in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission in April.


Once T-Mobile shuts down the 3G network, Boost Mobile customers with older phones still on that network will no longer have access to cell service.