T-mobile is set to close some and rebrand other Sprint stores to finalize the merger that got approved last year. Which means that Sprint as a brand will cease to exist following these store closures.
PhoneDog reports via TmoNews that all evidence of Sprint's existence will be gone by mid-summer. The new T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievet initially said this was supposed to be accomplished by early summer, but the current state of affairs around the globe as well as in the US has put many things either on hiatus or has caused certain things to slow down.
Take that with a grain of salt, because no concrete dates have been set for the completion. Especially as the situation evolves.
The silver lining is that you'll be able to keep your existing rate and plan from Sprint. This comes on the back end of owners of 5G Sprint phones getting trade in deals due to incompatibility with the main T-Moblie 5G bands.
How 5G Will Work
Speaking of T-Mobile's 5G rollout, they are adding 2.5Ghz capabilities to around 1000 nodes a month in 2020. It takes 5-10 days to complete the conversion. Hurdles and technical barriers like permits can take months to procure, so the process is slower than it could be.
T-Mobile is choosing to focus on the low and mid band (sub-6) spectrum as opposed to high band (mmWave) spectrum. The differences are that the lower frequency radio waves are not as fast, but they are more reliable. It has much better coverage and will get faster internet to rural areas.
High band spectrum is notorious for being unreliable if you cannot see the cell tower the radio signals emit from. The signal can drop if you go into a building and sit near a window. High band spectrum is mostly confined to cities.
The New Carrier Landscape
T-Mobile closing Sprint stores leads to a hole in the "The Big Four." This has now dissolved into "The Big Three." There are a few new carriers that perhaps could fill the space left by Sprint.
Xfinity could, but that's with a lot of growth and expansion. Dish Network could possibly rise to the challenge with the help of Google, but real evidence of that has yet to be seen in 2020.
Then of course there's Google Fi, Visible, Mint and others that piggy back off the networks of major carriers. So you do have options, it just might be at the cost of speed. These plans don't have 5G access. The good thing is you have options.